Yesterday I went to my macarons class at Cook ‘n With Class. Pastry chef Pino Fincara demystified these beautiful sugary confections. Not only did we create pretty macarons, but received a number of excellent tips to make our macarons work at home.
For those of you unfamiliar with macarons, think of them as super posh French Oreos, except the delicate “cookie” part is made from egg whites and the “icing” part may include chocolate ganache, buttery caramel, fruit filling – the possibilities are endless. Just don’t call them French Oreos at the patisserie or else you may get a look of disdain..
Weather plays an important factor with macarons. Do not make macarons on a humid or rainy day because they will crack. You can use the cracked ones for other purposes, such as decoration, an addition to ice cream or to snack on..
We made macarons with raspberry filling, chocolate ganache filling and caramel filling.
Here is what I learned:
1) Macaron batter includes a sugar syrup as well as egg whites, almond meal and superfine sugar (aka icing sugar in Canada). Food colouring can be added to liquid egg whites to make them pretty colours
2) Add sugar syrup once it reaches the magic number of 118 degrees celsius (get a fancy shmancy digital thermometer to determine this). Start pouring it into the egg whites very carefully so no one gets hurt. Keep whipping the egg whites until they deflate and become quite thick. The heat of the syrup will cook the egg whites – neato!
3) Use a scale to measure (in grams) & behold the beauty of the metric system. Being off by a few grams is not as tragic as being off by a few ounces.
4) It’s all about the piping – let macaron batter rest a few minutes before putting it in a piping bag, use disposable piping bags and it takes a bit of practice to get it right
5) When baking macaron shells, open the oven every 2-3 minutes for a couple of seconds. This prevents moisture build up in the oven and makes for pretty shells.
6) Making caramel – c’est simple: bring sugar to a boil until it looks like coffee with excellent crema. Then you add heavy cream….super fantastique!
7) Precious ganache – if you wait too long to mix the cream and chocolate, the fat will separate and it won’t look like beautiful glossy melted chocolate. No worries though – the refrigerator can often times fix this problem or it can be thrown into a mixer to make frosting.
8) I’ve finally learned how to spell macaron…
I thoroughly enjoyed the class and my super fantastique classmates. We will now be sweeping North America by storm with our macarons…..