Thursday, December 16, 2010

Macaron Mayhem! # 2

So a while back I went mad with about three batches of macarons.
So I thought I would show some of the processes of my third batch as well as the results
Third batch went well in some ways but not in others.
 To compare the second and third bath it would be composites of each other in things that worked and didn't work.
HAHA NOT MINE! But it did catch your eye!
First I'll go into one of the first processes I went through. I did the Italian process of doing macarons which is supposed to be easier to perfect but is harder and requires more effort and time to do the preparation. So one of the steps is to make a sugar syrup, bring it up to 115 degrees Celsius I think and all without a thermometer. I had to think for a second. I was thinking "How on earth am I going to get it to a certain degree. Am I going to have to eyeball it?" And there in lies the answer! I thought about candy making and having syrups at certain temperatures and testing to syrup by a cold water test. 
Aha! I found searching the net that I need it to be 'hard ball'. 
This syrup went toffee hard when it cooled. It is tinted red to make pink macarons!
What ended up happening was that I tested the syrup many times and after getting it to soft ball and testing it again it was getting to hard crack already! So I had to add water again and start boiling it off again. The second time I got it right and tested it to hard ball. 
So that's the long story, and a delicious pun =P of how I overcame step one-ish!

So here is the next complicated step. I'll show you my mixing bowl.  My electric mixer is a new mixer I bought for about $25. I've never see such a mixer at a price like that, generally starting from $100 but I found it at the Reject Shop to my amazement and they have a thing with buying large amounts of wholesale stock from ... obscure companies. But don't let the price leave you in wonder, there was one fault of the mixer that made by macaron-ing quite annoying. As I was doing the Italian macarons the requirement was that you needed to pour the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites...
Mixer whipping away with the syrup added.
So there in lies another problem! My mixer couldn't turn in any way. 
The head didn't move side to side and the bottom couldn't turn the bowl.
Now imagine this. I was left with myself and my two hands trying to do two things at once.
First to hold the heavy saucepan and pour a stream of syrup into the bowl.
Secondly to turn the mixing bowl to prevent the egg whites from cooking and the syrup from setting while the stainless steel bowl was progressively getting hotter.
So imagine my right hand trembling trying to steady the pouring syrup and my left hand shuffling the bowl towards me continuously to create the pretty pink batter.
A nightmare, a circus, but luckily being female I'm a multi-tasker!
Step two-ish over!
Next was mixing the flours and the meringue together. This was by far the easiest major task of Italian macaron-ing! But not without any difficultly. If you recall, I had 3 gos at this! The first go was total disaster and doing the simple French method I had mixed the flours and meringues together all at once as the recipe specified, and it turned into a grainy and not so elastic/smooth mixture as it ought to have been. 
Thank heavens I didn't have to encounter this problem 2nd and 3rd time round. The second time I gradually added the flour to the meringue using the French method but this time I mixed it all at once for the Italian method and it was smooth and silky.

So after piping it out and all the rest of the steps I ended up with.. well they didn't turn out so good appearance wise. There were a few problems. 
Some of the macarons had a crackled appearance on top that no amount of standing time could ever solve. 
They also didn't have as much feet as my second batch of macarons. 
They weren't crispy enough, not the biscuity texture I was looking for.
They still stuck to the baking paper so it was difficult trying to get them off.
And this is BLOOD! Nah, just bloody remnants of sickly sweet syrupy goodness.
Thirdly they browned up! They weren't the pretty pink batter anymore because I had a fan forced oven that didn't have a button to turn that function off =S. Usually a fan force oven is a plus!
I also tried to make a ganache. I accidentally separated the chocolate so it didn't go so well.
Nevertheless I wasn't going to make heaps as I just wanted to see the difference between plain macarons and filled ones.
Mild macaron success! The only one I filled.
So I filled one and disposed of the rest of the ganache. They recommended to let it sit a few days and that it would taste better. I have to say it does make a difference putting the ganache as it helps mellow out the sweetness of the macaron base. I'm not sure it would have any effect for having sat a few days though.
Hope you enjoyed this!
Love Porcelaine.

5 comments:

  1. OMGSHH!!
    I knew making macarons was hard
    But seeing all of it laid out
    Makes me even more astounded at how people make them!!
    I had tentative plans to make them with someone
    Next week
    But now I want to bail in fright XD

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  2. Goodness!!! That looked like such an agonizing process. As Lil said, I knew it was difficult but this seems impossible! I really think I'll put off making them for another...century!
    Good effort though, practice makes perfect I suppose.
    Darn those macaroons!
    xoxxx

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  3. It looks delicious! I've never eaten macarons....
    Sad that your mixer gave you trouble! We have one at home but we haven't used it yet! I doubt I'd be able to make this sweet macaron, though... I'm a bit.... well, I'm not good at following recepies. I always decide to add a personal touch and ruin everything hahahahahaha!

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  4. I had no idea making them was so hard! O____O I commend you for keeping at it, I'd probably give up and throw the mixer over the fence or something haha

    ....I'm really hungry now :O

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  5. @ Lil: I think it just requires a good developed skill. i.e. Lots of practice. I have a lot of eggs to cook away so I will probably be doing more. If I succeed eventually I may do a post on that!

    @ Suki.x: I suggest experimenting and trying. I just bought a book on Macarons. It can be expensive because almond meal costs so much! I will definitely keep everyone updated on my progress.

    @ Cacau: Please use your mixer! I would love to have a proper one but I can't really spend $1000 on a good mixer!

    @ SilhouetteScreams: I was thinking throwing the mixer over the fence was a good idea! Like why on earth had they not made a proper mixer. It was basically a hand mixer on a stand. But I do like the metal bowl! I will definitely keep at it!

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