Saturday, 22 May 2010

Macarons fait Maison (Hand-made Macarons)



My baking efforts tend to be of the rustic, craggy variety: crumbles, muffins, quick breads and cakes unacquainted with icing. This reflects, no doubt, my own shortcomings in making food look pretty and dainty. To be fair, though, most frilly desserts don’t appeal even when someone else is doing the baking. I can do without the rich fillings and toppings, and I much prefer my fruit inelegantly chunky and my chocolate unadulterated by anything creamy.

The great exception, of course, is macarons, as delicate a pastry as can be found. I’ve long adored eating them (particularly if they come from my favourite shop). But a very unsuccessful attempt, and reports of the difficulties encountered by those far more skilled and experienced, eliminated any aspirations I had to master them at home.

A gloriously messy afternoon spent with an ex-colleague turned serious amateur patissiere didn’t altogether shake my convictions. If anything, the difficulties I encountered piping even circles of egg white-almond batter out of a pastry bag, and spreading ganache over the cooled cookies, reminded me of why I could never earn a living with my hands. My friend was disappointed that many of the macarons cracked in the oven. While not affecting the taste, this was a blow to her ego. And the effort: even with 2 people and an ample supply of baking sheets, it was nearly 4 hours from start to finish.

Yet what an outcome! On the day, they were merely extremely good. But my mid-week, the flavour had become more intense, and the exterior had softened to become gloriously moulleux. Barring the cracks, they were the equal of most available in Paris.

As for Paris, the macaron-baking session took place on one of my last days there. I’m now a Eurostar journey away from ubiquitous pastry shops and free, individual pastry lessons. Though I’ve heard Herme has come to London. And with my new kitchen scales and accurate oven, I suppose I could give the macarons a try. There’s an extra macaron-eater around now too, one who also values taste over appearance.

But did I mention the mess? As extraordinary as the macarons.

7 comments:

Helen said...

My mother actually managed to smuggle a box of Parisian macaro(o)ns (and a camembert from Normandy!) through several sets of customs officials and all the way back to Cape Town last week - but I'm sure they're even better when you make them yourself :)

韋于倫成 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
怡君 said...

逛到你的部落格,第一個感覺就很好,希望每次更新都是美好的開始,也祝你天天都都開心喔 ..................................................

于呈均名 said...

you have a good taste!............................................................

Shira said...

Helen, that's dedication! I merely stunk out my fellow passengers on the Eurostar with non vacuum-packed cheese.

Hope you've enjoyed your European sojourns and look forward to seeing you on the next round.

DedeJ文辰_Fe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AlaynaGainer1姿吟 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.