On Mothers Day this year, Bookworm organised to get me a book about macarons. We love macarons in Chez FamilyLibrarian and I must have said at some time or other than I would like to have a go at making them.
Anyway, this lovely book turned up on Mothers Day
(with awesome wrapping too, wouldn’t you say? Also courtesy of Bookworm).
Young Gun and I had a go at making some during the week with not-very-good-results. I’m not sure what we did but it didn’t work out too well. It gave us lots of yummy, chewy, almondy meringue but not macarons.
I turned to Google. Anyone who has ever looked up ‘how to make macarons’ or ‘why did my macarons fail’ will know that there turn out to be lots of people with LOTS to say about making macarons. Some are pretty complicated – a blogger who had been to a master class with superstar pastry chef Adriano Zumbo reported that the egg whites have to be aged a week (or was it a few days?) and that the meringues are best made using a hot sugar syrup whipped into said ancient egg whites.
I found a few different variations on this theme – essentially that macarons are easy as long as you carefully follow these 3, 5, 7 or eleventy seven complicated tips!
Enter Stella Parks, more creatively known as BraveTart. Stella has a fabulous blog if you are even remotely interested in looking at gorgeous deserts and even more so if you are willing to have a go at making them. Stella’s Macaron Mythbusters post is subtitled ‘forget the busy work’ and disputes most of the mystery and awe surrounding the making of macarons. She makes macarons every day for a living and conducted an experiment in which she varied a single element of macaron making each day (after standardising her recipe and listing the things that wouldn’t change). The post is about the myths she has busted along the way. Go off and read it yourself to get the full glory, but I can tell you in summary that the results are essentially that you put the ingredients together and bake them. It’s not complicated at all.
Aha! Using some new found courage (this woman is a pastry chef after all! If she doesn’t stand the trays of macarons for an hour before putting them in the oven perhaps I don’t have to either?) I forged on with a second attempt today.
You may have guessed by now that this story has a happy ending. I went back to the recipe from my lovely mothers day book but followed BraveTart’s advice when it came to method. Voila!