Macaron Madness


Yes, macaron making can drive you insane. After a successful first attempt, I decided to gird my loins and give it another go. Well, after attempt 6, my pancreas gave up, and I decided to relinquish my apron in favour of not developing diabetes. What was most frustrating was the way there was no improvement from Batch 1 to 6 in the slightest.

Yet I’ve learnt the following lessons, should I ever attempt macarons again:

  • Make sure you have a lot of ingredients. I kept running out of ground almonds
  • Sift, sift, grind, sift. Sifting equals smooth shiny tops
  • Don’t overmix or add too much liquid or the batter will be impossible to pipe.
  • Don’t pipe the macarons too closely together. Give them A LOT of room to spread
  • Don’t sprinkle freeze-dried strawberries on top, they will burn.
  • Don’t mix freeze-dried strawberries into the mixture as it goes lumpy bumpy.
  • Overmixing/cooking at too low a temperature are apparently two causes of giant hyperextending macaron feet.
  • But baking them at too high a temperature causes them to explode

They really aren’t like making biscuits, these babies. In each batch, I only managed to salvage a couple of presentable looking ones to photograph. The rest were like deformed crisps. Granted, even the uglies tasted pretty good, but I am tempted to shove macarons into the category of ABJECT FAILURE along with baked raspberry cheesecakes and the Hummingbird Bakery’s cream cheese icing.


Bakewell Tart

Ah the Bakewell Tart. Beloved dessert of mine. I just can’t resist a scrummy slice of pastry, jam and frangipane. Oh, and the flaked almonds. Mustn’t forget those. I used leftover Pierre Herme pâté sucrée in the freezer, but I would use a plainer shortcrust pastry  or adapt the recipe to avoid the hints of vanilla that clash with the almondy frangipane.