OK, so for those of you who read my post last week, you will know that I have joined the rank and file who have seen the Ladurée light, indulging in all things macaronic (I’m surprised to find this is an actual work, but sadly not generally relating to all things macaron, but hey, this is my blog, and that’s how I’m going to use it), the sweet, elegant pastry treats which add a sense of past sumptuous delight to our every day doldrum lives. Well, I decided to take things one step further and attempt to make macarons myself. How hard can it be, I thought, somewhat naively, embarking on the project with only half an hour spare, my Ladurée cook book placed a sufficient distance from the hob so as not to pollute its gold-lined pages with icing sugar or jam splatters, and my piping bags and food colouring to hand. Three hours later and I was still cleaning up my kitchen which looked like a trench warfare zone all of its own – huge splashes of pink macaron batter on every conceivable surface, three limping icing bags all leaking their contents, flung in frustration across various aspects of the kitchen, and the macarons… well, see for yourself…
Ok, so from the side they don’t look too bad. The jam is oozy and the two sides of the macaron have their “feet” (the little crunchy bit) and the smooth bit on top which miraculously didn’t crack too much (with the one blaring exception). But then look at a random sample from above…
Indeed, not a round macaron in sight. I just could not get the bloody things to stay round! I literally piped them about five times, trying different sized nozzles, practically securing my wrist in a scaffolding-like contraption to ensure an unwavering hand, adding more icing sugar to make the mixture thicker but no no no, they just splurged all over the place into cloud-shaped disasters. On top of that, I couldn’t find any peptin for the jam, so basically had to add thickener, resulting in a jam which is more like gravy. Oh, and I should probably also admit that when these macarons went into the oven, they were pink. When they came out, they were decidedly orange.
So after all this, I have realised that £1.40 for a single macaron at Ladurée really isn’t that extravagant, when making these things requires the skill of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But forever determined to succeed, these macarons won’t get the better of me. I will succeed! With this is mind, can anyone tell me how to make round macarons? I’ve realised subsequently that I used caster sugar instead of granulated, which perhaps had something to do with my mixture’s refusal to conform, or is the problem more scientific?
On top of all this, I have subsequently cottoned on to the fact, after a great number of previous misspelling disasters, that a macaron is spelt with only one ‘o’ and not two, the latter type denoting the coconut cake of which my father is rather fond. According to wikipedia, “since the English word macaroon can also refer to the coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language”. I won’t be making that mistake again.
Macaron madness indeed.
PS Today I have been nominated for a HUG Award for which I am hugely grateful and honoured in my receipt. I will give the matter some thought and make my obligatory re-nomination in a post soon.