Sunday, May 6, 2012

More About Macarons

On Macarons Shells
I think it's been about a year since I've actually made macarons.  And quite honestly, when you don't  make that stuff for a while, you do lose your touch.  A test batch of this new green tea ones I've made didn't turn out that great - forgot about the proper oven temperature, bake time, what properly macaronaged batter looks like...  But I did also learned a few more things about making macarons this time.

Not only did my green tea ones did not turn out, my lavender ones were hollow inside too!
  1. If you have a baking stone, set it on the lowest rack and warm up your oven for at least an hour before hand while setting the baking rack approximately the same distance from the baking stone as you would from the element (stone acting as element in this case).  You'll get a more stable oven temperature, minutely, if even, affected by your opening and closing the oven door.
  2. An 80g to 100g egg white total batch size worked best for me in yielding perfectly formed shells.
  3. Macaronage will happen in at least 40 folding strokes, may need more, but never more than 100 strokes if batch size is 80g to 100g.
  4. Properly macaronaged batter do look and feel like fluffy marshmallow batter and fully blends back into itself within 30s.
  5. If you must tap the piped shell nipples down, wait until it's dry so that you can just gently push it down with your dry finger (remember how wet fingers make the shells weak and burst?).  But again, if it's properly mixed, you wouldn't need to do that.
  6. If you find your shell bottoms sticky, leaving bellies behind, don't be afraid to increase the bake time by 2 minutes until you get a dry shell when cooled.  Don't increase the temperature as it can greatly affect the rising of the shells.
  7. Do let your macarons rest with a little bowl of boiling water in an air tight container, it will soften to a chewy but slightly crunchy consistency.  I learned that trick from Jocelyn at Kuidaore.
On Ganaches
I also had to make a ganache for some of the fillings too.  I noticed that nobody on the whole wide internets, nor my chocolate recipe bible had a proper, sturdy ganache recipe.  I had to derive my own.
  1. A 1:1 ratio of white chocolate to whipping cream does not give you a sturdy pipable ganache.
  2. A 4:1 ratio of white chocolate to whipping cream will set nicely even at a slightly warmer room temperature.
  3. Add butter for a smoother texture.
  4. Add corn syrup to help set the ganache.
  5. Never warm the chocolate past 34C if you want it tempered.  If it happened by accident, cool it to 21C and warm it back up to 27C.
That's all for now, until I forget about all these and mess up my next batch...
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