Up until now, each batch of macarons I’ve made have been done using the French method – sift the almond flour and icing sugar together, beat the egg whites with sugar, mix the two, pipe, dry, bake. Pretty standard, pretty basic. There are other methods.
Yesterday, I didn’t just make the Pistachio Macarons (which are absolutely delicious, by the way… not overly sweet, with a creamy filling), I also made a (large) batch of Grapefruit macarons. I didn’t realize the batch would be as large as it was but it’s not a problem. I froze more than half of them. Anyway, this method was a little different than all of the previous batches I’ve made. This time, the egg whites and granulated sugar were heated over a pan of simmering water until the whites were foamy and the sugar melted. Then, they were beaten together. As well, the icing sugar and almonds were mixed with half the egg whites. After the heated egg whites were beaten to firm peaks, the two masses were mixed until the proper texture was reached. Then, everything proceeded as usual.
Everything went pretty well but the final batter was a bit on the thick side and my arm was a pretty tired from the mixing. I even resorted to using the paddle on my mixer, on the lowest setting to get the batter to the correct texture. It was still a bit thick.
To fill these, I made a batch of grapefruit curd and this is where things fell apart. I didn’t let the eggs, sugar, and juice mixture get thick enough before adding the butter. It tastes fine but is a bit runny. I ended up piping a ring of grapefruit buttercream and filling the ring with the curd before assembling them and refrigerating them. After resting in the fridge overnight, the curd has imparted its flavour into the shells.
This method, after having read dozens of recipes, is unique among those I’ve come across. It’s the only one I can recall reading that combines the egg whites and sugar and heats them together. I’ve seen that method used in buttercream recipes (Swiss Meringue Buttercream) but not in Macarons. As I wrote above, it worked but it was a lot of effort and sweat getting everything incorporated.
(There is another method I’ve yet to try, the Italian Method. In that method, half the egg whites are mixed with the almond/icing sugar mixture, the other half of the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks, to which a boiled sugar/water syrup is slowly poured into the egg whites, which are then beaten again until peaks reform and egg whites have cooled. Then the almond paste, and colouring, are incorporated into the meringue until the proper consistency is reached. From there, all methods are the same.)
The resulting macarons, even though the batter was quite thick, turned out pretty good. Some of the shells were near perfect, rising straight up with feet but no ruffles. Others were a little… tipsy. I encountered something I’ve not seen in any of my previous batches. Some of them slid off their feet!
I’m not sure why that might have happened. I did get some hollows as well so perhaps I have to raise my temperature slightly. Maybe? Opinions anyone?
As for the flavour? Well, the grapefruit flavour is definitely there but not as strongly as I thought it would be. The curd did infuse into the shells but the flavour pop I was expecting just isn’t there. I’m sure, if the curd had been done properly, that flavour pop would have taken these over the top.