Yesterday was the Macarons class and we baked Almond Tuiles, Lemon Sables, Madeleines, Palet Coconut and Orange Palet too. The attention, of course, was on the finicky ones. Most of us who signed up had baked Macarons before but failed certain times. So, this class was precious to us since we wanted to learn from the more experienced and knowledgeable one. And boy, did we learn new stuff!
Chef tended to my partner and I first and we had a good batter, so said Chef. Minutes into putting the piped macaron shells into the oven, he opened the oven door and observed. Something’s not right…and then he immediately looked at the oven temperature. Someone had tuned it up to 350F when it should have been 325F. The shells cracked and he explained that the heat was too much for the shells.
Something went wrong with the other pairs too. Think it was the piping. The baked shells did not turn out as well. Chef decided that we should start a new batch again and throw away those imperfect ones. Oh! What a waste! So many of them, all into the bin! The second time round, the results were much better.
A few pointers:
1. The important step is whipping the egg whites. There is no need to use aged egg whites. Just make sure there is no speck of yolk in the whites when you whip.
2. The sugar is added to stabilise the whites. No salt added for his recipe. Go on low speed after the whites reach soft peak stage and sugar added @ ard speed 3 or 4. The initial whipping speed is at speed 10!!!!
3. If the whipped egg whites becomes a bit too dry (overwhipped), add a little egg whites during the folding stage. Need not whip again.
4. The almond flour affects the quality of the turnout of the shells. Check if there is cornstarch added which tends to remove moisture. Better not to have cornstarch.
5. Chef opened the oven door ever so often to check on the other trays of shells. It seems that such action does not affect the baking! To tell if the shells are ready, when you place your finger on the shells, they should feel a bit shaky on the feet. Take out and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes before adding the filling.
6. Chef did not rest the shells after they are piped. It doesn’t seem to matter! But in his recipe, he recommended resting for 30 minutes before baking to form a crust which helps to avoid cracking. But it works without resting too!
Next step is to test baking them without the supervision of Chef. =p