This past Saturday, I went to Le Cordon Bleu for a macaron course – and it was amazing! Here are some pictures from the day, along with an incredible recipe and some of the things we learned. (PS. Look at all of the amazing short courses they offer!)
| The kitchen. |
| The Chef (Xavier Cotte) whipping the egg whites. He used the mixer for proficiency, but we had to whip our egg whites by hand :) Despite the hand cramps, I think whipping them my hand is actually better for someone who hasn’t made them hundreds of times, because you actually get a feel for the stiffness of the whites, and when they’re done. |
| The chef adding the dry ingredients. |
| The batter. So lovely and shiny. While you do gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, I was always under the impression that you barely wanted to do any mixing, or you could easily ruin your macarons. This isn’t entirely the case… you do need to be gentle, but he suggested gently folding in the first half of the dry ingredients, then gently folding in the second half, and then continue folding one more time (as if you were adding one more round of dry ingredients), at which point the batter should be nice and shiny. This will ensure that your macarons have the correct consistency and height. If you find that your macarons are too high in the end, it’s because you didn’t fold the batter enough; if they’re too low, you mixed too much – it just takes practice! |
| Getting ready to pipe the macaron batter. |
| Piping. |
| My batter! I went a little heavier on the food colouring… I love hot pink :) |
| The final cookie. |
| Lychee is the most awesome-looking fruit. |
| The Chef’s macarons, complete with piped filling. |
| And mine, complete with filling. |
| The finished product! So cute, and SO yummy. |
Here’s the actual recipe for these beautiful Rose Macarons:
(It’s really important to do this by weight – you can’t be accurate enough otherwise!)
150 g icing sugar
90 g ground almonds
75 g egg whites
35 g sugar
powdered food colouring (pink) – use just a tiny, tiny amount
for the filling;
45 mL whipping cream
14 g cornstarch
83 g butter, melted
40 g sugar
90 g white melting chocolate (or white chocolate broken into small pieces)
125 mL whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean pod
5 drops rose extract
Preheat your oven to 125C (~260C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the icing sugar and almonds in a bowl, and set aside.
Combine the egg whites, sugar, and colouring in a large bowl, and begin to whisk. Continue until fairly stiff and shiny – when you lift the whisk out of the whipped mixture, a large amount should stay on your whisk and easily retain its shape.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two stages… As I mentioned above, gently fold in the first half of the dry ingredients, then gently fold in the second half, and then continue folding one more time (as if you were adding one more round of dry ingredients, but you’re really just gently folding the batter). At this point the batter should be nice and shiny.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a #10 (round) pastry tip. Pipe rounds onto the prepared baking sheet, about 1-1/4″ (~3cm) in diameter. Pipe the circle by holding the bag perpendicular to the sheet, and just squeezing the bag while holding it in place (don’t actually draw a circle!). Release the pressure on the bag and move it sideways off the top of the piped macaron to that you don’t leave a big pointy top on the cookie! Let the sheets sit for about 20 minutes before placing them in the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, but the Chef said that you really just need to watch them to see when they’re done. Be sure to open the oven door several times during the cooking process to allow the humidity to escape, and also turn the baking sheet around once during baking. The Macarons are done when you lift one up, and just a few crumbs stick to the paper. When done, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.
Prepare the filling;
In a small saucepan, stir together the 45 mL whipping cream, cornstarch, melted butter, and sugar. Heat over medium until it boils, and then immediately remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir just until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool completely.
Note: This mixture will curdle and separate when you stir in the chocolate – but don’t worry! When it cools, stir it again and it will come back together.
Combine the 125 mL cream, the insides of the vanilla bean pod, and the rose extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip until stiff peaks form, and then place the whipped cream into the fridge to chill.
When the chocolate-y mixture from the stove has cooled to room temperature (and you’ve stirred it so that it has come back together), remove the whipped cream from the fridge and fold it into the chocolate-y mixture. Place the filling into another piping bag fitted with the same tip you used for the macarons.
Flip half of your macarons over, and pipe a small dollop of filling onto each. (The recipe from Le Cordon Bleu also called for a sliver of lychee to be added on top of the filling, but I only did this with a few because I really don’t love the texture!). Use the other half of the macarons to sandwich on top of the filling.
YUM! I can’t WAIT to try these in different flavours and colours…. :)