Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fussy Prissy Macarons



One thing (and probably the only thing) I miss about Paris is the bakery, any bakery, to be exact. I remember the morning when MY and I went to a little bakery near our hotel to get breakfast for the girls. The bakery was more of a homely style kind and it was tended by an elderly lady. We got a couple of fresh baguette, which were the most delicious baguette we have ever eaten. I usually dislike bread, but that baguette was so fragrant and fresh, I can just eat it on its own without any topping. And of course, being Paris, there are plently of other bakeries with beautiful desserts on display. Since we girls were on a budget backpacking trip, we could not afford to try too much of them.



On our final day in Paris before we headed back to Mannheim, we walked pass Gérard Mulot on our way to Jardin du Luxembourg.



The cakes and desserts were simply beautiful. Since it was the week of Christmas, they had this Santa Claus made from macarons on display. We knew we just had to get in and try some of those cakes.



The 5 of us picked 5 items to be shared among us. My friends favoured the Crème brûlée over the others, but my favourite of these was the chocolate macaron which was about the size of my palm. It's crunchy on the outside, chewy inside and the dark chocolate balanced off nicely with the sweet shells. This also marked the first time I had ever eaten a macaron. Before we left the shop, XL and I decided to pack some back to Mannheim. We chose flavours other than chocolate because she is not a chocolate fan and I was having a bad sore throat then. But sad to say, I only liked the chocolate-flavoured one. The rest of the flavours were too sweet for our liking. It was only recently that I found out that the best macarons can be found at Pierre Hermé. If only I had known then, I would have went searching for it.

Anyway, back to my macaron experiment at home. After a brief search for recipes online, it seems that the more common ratio of ingredients is roughly 1g egg white to 1.2g ground almond to 2.4g icing sugar. I gave one of such recipes a try and I knew it was going to be a disaster when I piped it on the parchment and the batter was so runny, it started spreading so much that the circles were joined together. I have no idea why. Either I have over-folded the batter or it was because I used a piping tip that was too small.

I used a completely different recipe for my second try of the day. This recipe uses less ground almond and icing sugar, but a larger amount of granulated sugar needs to be added to the egg whites.



The batter looks more promising. At least it did not spread that much. I'm kind of shocked to see large feet while the shells were in the oven.



But the feet shrank to a more normal size while cooling. I had no problems peeling the shells off from the parchment.



Not surprisingly, I chose to sandwich them with dark chocolate. These may not be the most perfect macarons, but they are a great encouragement to me. I would recommend this recipe by David Lebovitz to beginners in macaron baking because it seems more foolproof. My guess is probably the large amount of granulated sugar added while whipping the egg whites stabilized the whites more. Thus it does not deflate by too much when folding in the dry ingredients. I am no macaron expert, so I can't tell if the final product looks or tastes different from the macarons made from other recipes.

Ingredients:

1 large egg white (mine is about 37 g)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
33 g caster sugar
25 g ground almond
50 g icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (original recipe uses Dutch-processed)

Method:
  1. Prepare baking tray lined with parchment and a piping bag with a plain tip.
  2. Grind ground almond and icing sugar in a food processor or blender until fine. Sift with cocoa powder and set aside.
  3. Add cream of tartar to egg white and beat till soft peak stage. Gradually add in caster sugar and beat till stiff.
  4. Add in dry ingredients from step 2 in two batches and fold till incorporated.
  5. Scrape into piping bag and pipe circles of about 3 cm.
  6. Rap tray on table a few times to get rid of air bubbles. (I let the piped batter sit for 30 mins before baking.)
  7. Bake at 180 deg C for 15-18 mins.
  8. Let cool completely before peeling off from parchment.
  9. Sandwich shells with filling of choice and let them stand for a day before serving.
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz's French Chocolate Macaron.


12 comments:

  1. Spear your macaroons are perfectly beautiful!

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  2. Pretty macarons! So coincidence, I also bake chocolate macarons today~ :)

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  3. Oh Jess, I'm hopeless with macarons...threw away 2 batches before this...what a waste.

    Hi Cathy, great minds think alike! ;P Hahaha!

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  4. Me too, I made macarons today but it failed :( Will try it again! You got a perfect macarons, pretty!

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  5. Hi Quizzine,
    Thanks for dropping by. Don't be disheartened! Perhaps you can also try this David Lebovitz's recipe too. Looking forward to your successful macarons!

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  6. wow! looks like 12 Feb needs to be declared as Macaron Day! I have Lebovitz's book too! Shall try his recipe soon. Thanks for reminding! :)

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  7. is my first time browsing your blog and i found such nice and lovely macarons with those pretty feet! great job! im definitely coming back to look out for more nice bakes from you (: (:

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  8. Hi travellingfoodies,
    Haha...what a coincidence. Perhaps it's the valentine's season that inspired us to bake macarons =D. Yeah, you should try his recipe, it really works.

    Hi Jasmine,
    Thanks for dropping by my humble blog! Hope you enjoy your stay here. =D

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  9. ur feet look absolutely lovely :) i also enjoyed success with david's recipe and am baking other flavors now :D

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  10. Hi Janine,
    Yeah...I'm so glad to have found this recipe. Looking forward to seeing your macarons!

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  11. 烤得好美,尤其是那裙邊. 找個時間我也要試試看,感謝您的分享!

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  12. Hi Martin,
    謝謝您到訪我的小小部落格! 這David Lebovitz食譜的成功率還挺高的(也是我唯一一次成功,呵呵),不妨試一試哟 =).

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