Macaron Madness

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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.

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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.

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