I like to feel I’m quite confident in the kitchen, but I have a dark secret – I just cannot master the French delicacy that is macarons. A few years ago when my husband was working away in Paris I begged him to bring home some of these fabled macarons I’d read so much about. While they were not Ladurée macarons they could only be described as dry, tasteless and frankly disappointing. A few years went by and I was down in London for the Real Food Festival and spotted the hallowed treats for sale. This time they were sweet and delicious. This meant I had to have a go at making them myself.
The first time I made them the mixture was a bit too thick and the shells didn’t bake to a smooth top. Second attempt was going well until I took them out of the oven. They had good feet then as they cooled the tops cracked and they managed to weld themselves to the baking parchment.
After returning back to square one, more times than I care to remember, I decided to try the Italian method. I knew it was fated from the start when I dropped the aged egg whites. I’d already prepped the other ingredients so continued with new fresh egg whites. Although I appeared to get the perfect ribbon consistency with the mixture in the bowl it decided to pour straight out of the piping bag. Cue a great deal of kitchen cursing. The resulting bake was reminiscent of salmon pink thick tuile biscuits. Nice.
The problem is because I can’t make them this irritates me immensely. I want to master them plus I passionately hate wasting ingredients, even the odd egg white. I had good intentions on having yet another go at the Italian method of macarons this weekend. After lovingly aging 3 egg whites for 3 days I got cold feet and put the whites in the freezer for another day.
So here is to me sticking two fingers up at the pastel meringue sandwiches and going back to something I’m good at – cake. What are your top tips for macaron making? My goodness, I need them.
Love Jules x