Saturday, April 10, 2010

General Italian Meringue Macarons How-To


General Italian Meringue Macarons How-To
Ratios from SyrupandTang.com

Part A
Egg whites
Castor sugar
Water

Part B
Egg whites
Castor sugar
Almond flour

Candy thermometer

Method
The amount of almond flour is determined by a 1.35 factor of the total amount of egg whites you have.
The amount of castor sugar is determined by a 1.35 factor of the total amount of egg whites you have.
The amount of water is determined by a 0.33 factor of the total amount of egg whites you have

 E.g. 

Egg Whites
Part A + Part B
Factor
Amount
60 g
1.35
81 g
Almond flour
60 g
1.35
81 g
Castor sugar
Part A

81 g
Castor sugar
Part B
60 g
0.33
19.8 mL
water


60 grams of egg white gives you about 60 macarons shells, 30 filled macarons.


Pregame

0.  Divide your egg whites evenly so that Part A and Part B have equal amounts of egg whites.

Part A

1. Use a tiny pot to boil the sugar from Part A with the water to make syrup.  Give it a thorough stir so all the water has a chance to get into the sugars.  Then you can leave it alone to boil.


2. Boil the sugar-water at medium (mine's a ceramic cook top).  No need to stir, you'll only splash it up the sides and waste stuff if you do.

3. Whip your Part A egg whites with a pinch of salt or dash of lemon juice if you wish to make it more whippable.


4. Continue whisking until it is at hard peaks form.

5. Once syrup reaches anywhere between 230F-245F, remove it from heat IMMEDIATELY.
For a firmer meringue, aim for a 245F syrup.


6. Slowly stream in the hot syrup into your whipped egg whites with the mixer on the slowest speed.
 I find it easier to pulse the mixer to avoid splashing or making cotton candy.  Pour, pulse, pour, pulse...


7. Whip the egg whites on high to kingdom come once all the syrup has been added to a stiff bird’s peak.  You may cool it in an ice bath while whipping (optional but recommended for a big batch).
If the peak is still droopy, keep whipping.  It WILL firm up.



Part B

8. Sift the almond flour and sugar from Part B, and then add the egg whites from Part B and mix together and any coloring you wish.
It is very heavy and sticky; I suggest you use a mixer to thoroughly combine this.



9. Once your meringue has cooled and is forming a bird’s peak, you're now ready to put Part A and Part B together.

Macaronage


10.  Smear the SOB hard for 30 seconds.  You're trying to incorporate as much of the almond mix into the meringue so that it's uniform and kill the big bubbles in the meringue.


11. After 30s of abusive smearing.  Fold the mixture in no more than 50 strokes.  Don't baby this thing.


12. Check for ribbon like consistency and 15-30 second complete re-incorporation characteristic after about 30 strokes.  STOP FOLDING if it's doing this, you're done.


Consistency Video

Baking and Crusting

13. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton #8 tip (give or take).

14. Pipe 1-inch dollops (2.5cm) onto a silicone baking mat.
I've used parchment before and it's giving me oval macarons...with Silpats, I don't need meringue dabs to hold the sheet down either.

15. Knock the pan on the counter several times to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a tooth pick.


16. Shake and tilt the pan in all directions to ensure the batter will be resting in a leveled position before baking.


17. Preheat oven to about 320F
You really would have to play around with your oven as every oven is different.


18. Let macarons rest (crust) for about 15 minutes and not any longer. 


19. You may sprinkle anything you like to decorate the shells at this point so it's baked into it.


20. Bake for about 14 minutes in the oven.
I tend to sit in front of the oven and stare at it like a crazy person.  "Feet!  Feet!  Show me your feet!"


21. Let cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before trying to pull them off the silicone mat.  It should come off clean.


Tips

Double up your heavy gauge baking pans.


 

Spray and wipe the silicone mats with a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture to rid of any grease.  Grease on the mats can result in bear paw-like macarons.

Stagger the rows of macarons on the silicon mat for better heat and air flow the each macarons in the oven.

Invest in an oven thermometer.

With about 7 minutes left on the oven timer, you can start piping the next pan of macarons so that when the one in the oven is done, the second pan has enough crusting time and now your 3rd pan is ready to crust for 15 minutes and then to go in when pan #2 comes out.

There will not be a lot of bubbles coming up during the knocking and resting stage if you have whipped the meringue until it has completely cool and also folded the batter to the right consistency.


Do not tap the macarons nipples with a wet finger.  It will cause a weakness in the shell.  Besides, if you folded it to the right consistency, the nipple would have incorporated back into the batter, nipple disappearing.





Over resting the macarons will allow it to grip to the baking mat and give lopsided macarons.


 
Oval macarons can be a result of resting on uneven surface, and also over mixed batter.

Feet should appear half way during the baking process.

Macarons should not be producing anymore feet with 3 minutes left on the timer.  If it does, your meringue was not whipped to kingdom come and cooled completely before macaronage.  Lowering the oven temperature will not help the situation.  You will have big, frilly feet around the shell, instead of it neatly tucked under.

Oven too hot will cause macarons to crack, as would a too stiff batter possibly due to sitting in the pastry bag too long and the bubbles have escaped.



Oven not hot enough (but you have baked it long enough so the bottoms are dry) will have a giant air pocket under the thin, fragile shell.

To remove macarons safely from the silicon mat: roll and pinch the mat around the macaron.

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