01 March 2009

Macarons. First take.

As I have said in my Carbonara post, I have tons of egg whites in my freezer. And that gets even worse when I make Pasteis de Nata (a sweet that reminds me of vacations), you need 6 (six!) yolks for one muffin tray. So I'm looking for ways to use those egg whites, apart from the plain white meringue. Quite a few food bloggers post about macarons, about how delicious they are and how difficult they are to make. A way to use those egg whites and a challenge - what could be better?

Have you ever eaten macarons? It's a French sweet, a bit like a sandwich made of almond meringues and with ganache in the middle. I first tasted them last September in Bordeaux, so apart from being delicious by themselves, they taste like holidays for me... The drawback is that they're really expensive and they're - of course - only available in France. There also seems to exist a Swiss variant, named Luxemburgerli.

After reading several posts and recipes, the one presented by David Lebovitz seemed the most reasonable one - hey, he gave it seven tries! Click on this link for the RECIPE and INSTRUCTIONS...

This is my first try - doesn't look too bad:


Well, not perfect either. I must say that in my case, 2 egg whites may not have been enough - the batter was quite hard and I could hardly squeeze it through the pastry bag nozzle. Nothing like the described "lava consistency". Also, tapping the baking sheet several times did not make the macarons any flatter; I had to use my moistened finger tips to make the tops more even. They came out pretty thick: the macaron pictured here is 5 cm high. And I only had enough batter for 7 pairs.

But: preheating the oven a bit hotter than you actually need it (and then reducing the temperature when putting the meringues in) really helps generating the little "feet", i.e. the crumpled meringue you see in the picture.

Needless to say, the chocolate ganache was really easy to make and tastes delicious, maybe because I added 1 teaspoon of rum. As I did not have enough macaron shells, I made truffles as described by Alton Brown.

No question I will make macarons again, as they are really really tasty!


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