Friday, May 14, 2010

Beginners' Luck

Lime & Basil (Gina) 2010.

This week my friend Liz and I decided it was high time to conquer the challenge of French marcarons. After hearing horror stories of the difficulties, and Liz decidedly rating these little morsels as 9/10 on the hard-to-make scale, we dove in.

We used the recipe for lime and basil macarons from much loved Ottolenghi cookbook. The recipe was appealing because although it gave specific directions on how to best achieve success, it wasn't overwhelming and stupefying. Also, lime and basil! Yum!

And you know what? With two sets of hands and some (limited) patience, the process wasn't nearly as scary as everyone had told us. Not a 9/10 at all. Perhaps only a six. Our marcarons were definitely delicious, although perhaps a bit more rustic looking than fancy-pants Paris patisseries produce. Some work on piping technique is due, but all in all I consider this a triumph.

Along with a potentially large share of beginner's luck, here are some tips that helped us learn to stop worrying and love the marcaron.
  1. Sift those dry ingredients. Like, three times.
  2. Be really nice to your egg whites. Especially after they enter meringue stage (i.e. fold carefully).
  3. Once you've piped your cookies out, don't be afraid to bang the bejesus out of the cookie sheet to get rid of air bubbles - we didn't bang enough.
  4. Also, don't be afraid to let them sit out before you bake them. For some magic reason this helps.
  5. While they are baking, open the oven door a few times to let some steam escape.
Now go forth, with macaron recipes in hand, and conquer!

And please feel free to share any tips you might know or come across!


Jen said...

Those look & sound delicious!

Jennifer said...

They were delicious. Gina is the Egg Whites Queen.

Alison said...

Gina, these look awesome! I've always been intimidated by macaroons, but I might just be brave enough to try them now. A delicious and sophisticated use for the egg whites in my freezer..

Leslie-Anne said...

Ottolenghi and macarons. What a combo. I should try making these sometime soon. mmmmm.