10 October 2014

MACARON PART I: THE ESSENTIALS

Yum



First time making macaron. It came out just okay, not perfect. 
The photos I'm showing you here are from different times I tried to make macarons. I think I deleted the original photos from my phone and I am only left with my instagram screenshot..




There is no special secret in making macaron. Of course tips and tricks can make your macaron journey a little bit easier, but who would want that?! You want to have a difficult time at first before you finally get the perfect macaron, because it'll just taste a little bit sweeter! 

The one and only secret is just to keep practising until you get comfortable with it. I don't want to burst your bubble here but you probably would not get it right when you make your first macaron. Or the second time or third time or even the tenth time, in my case! 
Something would always be wrong, whether it is your measurement, your technique, your oven temperature, the way you fold the mixture, the way you pipe, what kind of baking paper/mat you use, etc.. 
My quest for macaron was difficult. There were days when I would go back and forth to the supermarket to get new eggs and just try and try and kept on failing. 

But ... Please don't get discouraged reading what you just read. Because, I finally found the recipe that works for me. Hopefully it will work for you too! 

Before we dive into the recipe, let's look at some of the essential things that you need to pay attention to. 

First and foremost, GET A COOKING SCALE

My recipe rely on the weight of the egg whites. Different eggs yield different egg whites weight. Normally, your egg whites should be about 37 - 42 gram a piece. This is for large eggs. 
The reason why I want you to know the weight of the egg whites because sometimes, the size of the eggs are different. For example, I can make good macarons here in Holland but when I tried to make one in Jakarta, it did not come out good. I found out it was because the eggs I was using in Jakarta was smaller than the one I use in Holland. 

To age or not to age? I honestly can't tell you the difference. Most times I made macarons, I use them as they are. Take the eggs from the fridge, separate them and let them sit in room temperature for 30 minutes or so. When I do use a day old egg whites, I really can't see the difference. 

I use the italian merengue method for making my macarons. I find it gives the most stable macaron mixture and you'll get less air pockets and hollowness. I have tried the french and swiss merengue method and the italian came out on top!

After a lot of failed macarons, I found out for myself and my oven using a silicone baking mat is the best way to go. For some reason using baking paper gives me crooked macarons, they don't rise evenly. I have seen other people bake their macarons using baking paper and they come out perfect. If you have the same problem as me, one tip that I read is you double up the baking pans so the heat distributes evenly. Another reason why you should try yourself and find out which is best for you, and your oven. 

See how some of them are crooked? I use baking papers here. 
Speaking of oven, the temperature I use for macarons is between 150 - 175 degrees Celsius. The oven (convection oven) I use in my sister's house, I use 175, The oven I have which is conventional oven, I preheat the oven for 30 - 45 minutes to 150 with top and bottom heat. So, the oven type also influence the outcome of your macaron. If I use 175 in my conventional oven, my macarons come out slightly brown and burnt. 

The macaron texture should be in between a thick and thin batter. This is the top reason why if you want to make good macarons you have to do it over and over and over again. It is the only way you will know how the batter supposed to be like. I have read recipes that says, "fold your batter many times". No, this trick will not work for you as it did not with me. The best way to know how the batter should look like is to look at this video from adriano zumbo. This is the video I use to check my batter texture. The video shows that they mix the macaron with mixer, that is a big NO NO for me, always use spatula to fold your batter! In the video, only pay attention to how the batter look like (on 2:07 - 2:15), ok!

Essential tools are spatula, cooking thermometer, 2 mixing bowls, piping bags with 1 cm or bigger tip, baking mat and baking pan.


During drying process. I finally bought silicone baking mat!

The drying process, oh the drying process. Try not to skip this step. No matter what you read in other blogs, the drying process is important. The longer you can wait the better it is (at least for me!). Especially for you that live in higher humidity places. My failed macarons in Jakarta, came out with no feet and erupted top like a volcano mountain! When I make macaron here in Holland in winter time, I dry my macarons 1 - 1.5 hours. On summer time, I do it even longer, 3 - 4 hours. I had days when I touched my macarons and it is dried after one hour, I put them in the oven thinking everything will be fine and they came out erupting! Or crackled on the top. Since then, I never played with the time, I dry them as long as I can! 

I make my macarons on the weekend. When I wake up on Saturdays (around 8 - 9 AM) I immediately make and pipe my macarons and leave them to dry. I start baking them at 1 - 2 PM. You should figure this out yourself depending on your environment. 

So those are my essential tips on making macarons. These tips may only apply to me but I only know what went wrong because I did it and failed so many times. 

My next macaron post will be all about the recipe! :)


Macaron with citrus filling!


1 comment:

  1. wow, great looking macaron!!!
    you should cross your finger above your head then.....

    ReplyDelete

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