Macarons in the Making

The fascination of the Macaron echoes from Paris to Tokyo and back to Zurich.So many people adore those tiny bite sized desert sandwiches without knowing what they are eating. If you love them – then make them. In order to begin here is a list of kitchen items you will need:

  • Micro scale – crucial for measuring to the exact gram
  • Fine mesh sifter
  • Food processor
  • Kitchen Aid
  • Piping bag and large round tip
  • Silicon Mats – Silpat
  • Gel food colouring
  • Heavy baking trays to help prevents the Macaron shells from getting too much heat

Ingredients for the Macaron Shells:

100g of Aging Egg Whites (2-3 days in airtight container at room temperature)
225g of Powdered Sugar (also known as icing sugar)
125g of Almond Meal
5g of Dehydrated Egg White Powder (also known as albumen)
28g of Granulated Sugar

Meringue Method for Macaron Shells:

1. Measure all ingredients with a scale.

2. Process almond meal and icing sugar in the food processor.

3. Sift the blended almond meal and powdered sugar through a fine mesh.

4. Start beating egg over a Bains Marie and hand whisk them for 2 minutes. Then take a hand mixer and beat the egg whites at low-speed.

5. When egg whites are foamy (mousse-like) add in the dehydrated egg white powder (albumen) and granulated sugar mixture.

6. After they mousse – 1-3 minutes add the color.

7. Increase speed and beat egg whites until “soft peaks” form from the beater’s end. If you use a kitchen aid, stop, and tilt head back, look to see if egg whites form a small bird’s beak. Do a check by stopping the mixer and tilting the head back to check the firmness of the peak. If a peak stays up, then you are done. Ensure that they are not stiff or foamy since that means you have gone too far –  you have now made the “meringue”.

8. Now you add part by part the blended almond meal-powdered sugar mixture 2 tablespoons at a time to the meringue you have created.

9. Mixing in a clockwise rotation, the process is about slowly adding your almond mixture into the egg into the mix in a clockwise direction. I suggest you split the almond mixture into 6 parts, and turn the mixture until each part is completely absorbed into the mixture and it takes time, 5 minutes.

10. Once the mixture is ready transfer it to a piping bag.

11. Pipe out small circles. Pipe down and then do a quick circular movement to the right to finish piping one shell.

12. Pipe approximately 30 shells on each tray. Before piping the next sheet, firmly rap tray on floor or counter to get rid of any air bubbles inside the shells. This is called “tamping”.

13. Use can use a toothpick to pop air bubbles on shells otherwise you get the wrong shape.

14. Let Macarons sit for at least 30-45 minutes until a skin forms and is dry to the touch.

15. Pre-heat oven to 150°C.

If baking at 150°C put one tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes, then rotate tray and bake for another 11 minutes.

If baking at lower temperatures (i.e.121°C), bake the shells for 20-30 minutes before rotating the pan and baking for another 10 minutes. This allows for the shells to rise slowly enough to form a firm crust and the sought after pied.

16. Take out of oven, allow Macarons to cool.

17. Peel from silpat/silicon mat, and get ready to fill with your butter-cream.

Note: Everyone’s oven is different so results will vary. Create a table track to track the progress and include the followings: Resting Time, Temperature In, Bake Time and Results. In a hot environment resting Macarons for 30 minutes and then baking them at 145°C for 8 minutes, rotate and then another 11 minutes. While in the fall baking Macarons at a lower temperature of 135°C for 20 minutes, rotating and then another 10 minutes. Understand that each oven’s temperature varies and temperature fluctuations regularly happen.

Earl Grey Butter-cream based on Pierre Herme’s method

80g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
25g water
1 whole egg (60g)
1 egg yolk
160g soft butter (cut into cubes)
One bag of double Bergamot (Earl Grey) tea

Directions:

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small pot.

2. Heat the sugar to 120°C. If it boils clean the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Try not to continually mix the solution. Allow it to heat on its own.

3. In another bowl or the bowl of your Kitchen Aid whisk the eggs and egg yolks until it lightens in color.

4. Once the hot sugar mixture reaches 121°C pour immediately into the whisking egg mixture. You may find turning down the whisking speed temporarily will help prevent hot sugar threads from flying everywhere. However, it is imperative to pour the hot sugar mixture in quickly and then increase to a higher whisking speed.

5. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled down completely. It will start to look like a meringue and be glossy.

6. Meanwhile, cream the butter until it has thickened.

7. Once the egg mixture-meringue has cooled, add the butter.

8. Continue whisking until the butter cream is smooth. It may curdle slightly but this is okay. Keep whisking and the butter cream will come back together.

9. Cut open the tea bag and sprinkle into the butter-cream and whisk until smooth.

10. Immediately transfer butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle and pipe away.

11. Pipe a small mound of butter cream onto each half shell.

12. Top with the matching shell to finish the Macaron.

Once you are done matching and topping shells, the Macarons should be stored in the fridge in a covered container for 2 days to reach its optimal flavor and texture. When you are ready to eat them, take out of the fridge two hours before eating. If you are making an entire batch you can easily freeze you them in a covered container. Prior to eating defrost in a covered container for 2-3 hours in room temperature.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDo0SgDKLVw