Archive for October, 2009

Daring Bakers’ October Challenge: French Macarons

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I joined Daring Bakers and this month and did my first challenge – French macarons. When I was in France last year I ate real macarons at Laduree, and they were amazing. So, after that I came back and tried several recipes. After a few failures, I found the recipe from Desserts magazine Helen of Tartelette was consistent and gave me the real feet and crisp crust with soft interior. The difference with this recipe is that it uses Italian merangue, which adds a cooked sugar syrup to the beaten egg whites.

So, when I read the recipe from Daring Bakers, it was made with the French method – raw whipped egg whites. I was interested to see if I could get the feet without the bother of the Italian cooked merangue. I tried the recipe 3 times with little success (ie, they had no feet), so then I adapted the recipe to the cooked merangue method and they worked.

For filings, I made chocolate ganache, everyone likes it. I then tried a new caramel filling made with mascarpone and caramelized sugar plus whip cream. It is excellent, but very sweet. I then tried a third filling with mascarpone and whip cream, and added a little caramel filling to it, and it was also quite good.

Macarons can become obsessive, especially the need for feet. I like them once in a while, and love how they look, but they are really sweet, and after these batches I could hardly eat them. I called my husband on one of the afternoons a furnace was being installed, and told him to feed them to the workmen. They liked the caramel the best.

I still have not mastered these in that I cannot make them consistently with feet and shiny tops, but I really enjoyed the challenge of the Daring bakers and reading about all the information on the web about macarons. I tried a fifth batch using a new recipe from the new James Peterson Baking, but they ended up with no feet. He did not even hint that they might be difficult either!!

Anyway, I will try these again but not until I have a break from the sugar rush. I am in san Francisco now visiting my son, so I hope to make it to Paulette’s Macarons, she has a shop here with wonderful looking macarons.

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