Macaron lah Day 2: The curious case of the cracked macarons…

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Macaron lah Day 2: The curious case of the cracked macarons…

The NyonyaCelup has started experimenting with the 5 MP camera of her new iPad as well as the iPhoto app.
Unless stated so, all pictures taken with said camera and edited with said app — except for the addition of frames & text, which iPhoto doesn’t seem to support.

The macaron project on The NyonyaCelup will henceforth be referred to as: Macaron lah.

The choice of terminology is pretty simple.

#1

In Malaysia, and perhaps other countries out there — except France, of course — there is a tendency to confuse this:

Macaron rainbow... *whee*

Le macaron
Forgive me my bad French if I mixed up my genders.
Image taken from Trissalicious.

with this:

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroons : an extra “o” makes all the difference.
The French can get quite annoyed if you confuse the two
— seeing as to how different they are, can you blame them?
Image taken from J.C. Wilder.

An understandable rookie mistake that even I — until I was royally told off by an annoyed pastry chef in France — used to make.
I was also taught how to pronounce “gratin” on this same trip — on a Eurostar, of all places — but we can leave that embarrassment for another day.
In fact, Googling macaroon images brings up only TWO pictures of an actual macaroon on the first page. The rest are of — you guessed it — macarons!
Didn’t know the difference? Well, now you do. And at least you didn’t have an irrate Frenchman correcting you. 🙂 

#2

Yes, there is a 2nd reason…

Malaysians, and Singaporeans, are quite fond of adding a lah behind everything we say.
We refer to it as Manglish or Singlish, depending on which side of the Causeway you belong to.

Think of this as a homage to my heritage
— and also as an annoying play on its French name. 🙂

Now, I am a huge fan of le petits macaron
think 26 macarons in 45 minutes (I had to chew and swallow, no?) —

and though Monsieur Pierre Hermé is the rage now, I am still a bigger fan of the delicate offerings from the original double decker macaron maker, Ladurée.

They are, however, awfully expensive to purchase.
ONE good macaron will set me back anywhere from RM3.50 – RM 4.00. (Roughly USD 1 for the rest of you.)
So, like every kiasu Chinese, I thought to myself: Make myself only lar. Really so difficult meh?

Plus, David Lebovitz made it sound so easy!

But, as you can see from the previous post, the results can be quite disastrous. 🙂

No matter, if there’s one thing two years of escalating antibiotic therapy taught me: what doesn’t kill you only makes you (much) stronger.

Because my last French meringue suffered the fate of over beaten egg whites,
(the NyonyaCelup almost always overbeats her egg whites because she’s usually doing more than 2 things at the time)
I resorted to hand beating them this round. Took me all of 1/2 a frackin’ hour.

French meringue

On hindsight, I think I may have under beaten my meringue.
My arm did hurt after 1/2 an hour.

I also used aged egg whites that were about a week old,
added 1/2 a teaspoon of cream of Tartar just as they got foamy,
and 1 tablespoon of egg white powder (I use Wilton’s Meringue Powder) 5 whisks after that.

Macaronage

Macaronage: the art of folding the tant pour tant delicately into the meringue.

Macaron batter after macronage

The resulting batter should flow like lave / magma / etc.
It basically means that the little swirls that form as you pour the batter back into the bowl should disappear after 3-5 seconds.

Macaron shells all piped out & resting...

I’m actually very pleased that I managed to pipe (more or less) consistent round shells
— at least in the beginning, before I started getting impatient.
Didn’t bother to pop the air bubbles.

Some of the blogs I read recommended that macaron shells made with the French meringue method be left to rest for an hour or so,
while some actually cautioned against over drying them.
I just left mine till the tops stopped sticking to my fingers. (Took about 45 minutes.)

Cracked macarons with teeny feet.

Sacré bleu — where are my feet?!
Taken using an old Canon PowerShot & edited using ACDSee.

La pied, or the foot of the macaron shell — see that lil’ crack that should’ve fully formed as the top of the macaron shell expanded from the bottom — are much desired, aesthetically.
Taste-wise, it won’t make a difference.

My shells also cracked; and there are at least a dozen different reasons why that could’ve happened.
I think mine was a combination of an overmixed batter + a too hot oven.

Assembled macarons

Macarons after assembly.
Because the shells on the bottom tray didn’t crack as much as those on the top, I’m thinking that a too-high temperature was a big culprit.
Taken with the same old Canon PowerShot and edited with ACDSee.
Not a fan of PhotoShop. I can’t make any sense of it.

Cracked macarons

24 hours later (and you must always wait 24 hours before serving them),
and they actually taste quite good.

Well, another day then.

*pst* Marie over at FoodNouveau.com has an exhaustive troubleshooting guide which can be very helpful. 🙂

Love, The NyonyaCelup

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Macaron-lah Day 3: Flying to the moon and back sans feet… « The NyonyaCelup

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