And Then, There’s Swiss

In what is beginning to feel like a never-ending quest for perfection, I’ve realized that there is a third method for making French macarons. When I made the Grapefruit Macarons, I didn’t realize that they used this method, also called the Swiss Meringue Macarons. The difference in this method is that the egg whites and sugar are mixed together, then heated au bain marie (double boiler method) until the sugar has melted and incorporated into the whites, then beaten to stiff peaks before adding the icing sugar and almond.

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Perspective does strange things… my whisk is NOT that long and skinny. Honest!

In doing even more reading, I found that this method is the least well known of the three but is more stable than the French method and more delicate than the Italian method. Of course, you know that I had to give it another go, right? I’m stubborn that way.

I found a couple of online pdfs, one from Chef Joseph Cumm, and another from Chef Ryan Zimmer; both recipes are similar in their ratios. This time, I’m following Chef Joseph’s recipe. I’ll be adding red powdered food colouring to the batter and will be filling them with a raspberry chocolate ganache (already made and cooling). His pdf even has a troubleshooting guide at the end.

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The tops are a little rough looking; I probably should have whizzed the almonds and icing sugar before running them through the sieve but I like to live dangerously. Coming out of the oven, the shells are very fragile and I wasn’t, apparently, very careful.

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Once I let them cool, they were better. I learned a little “trick” on one of the (many) videos I watched – push the bottoms in a bit. It gives more room for filling and pushes the insides up to the top, helping to fill in the hollows.

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I filled these with dark chocolate raspberry ganache.

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I’m not sure how long I can wait before trying these. I have to say, making macarons can be a bit confusing. In everything I’ve read, there’s been conflicting information. The oven’s too hot. The oven’s too cool. The meringue is over beaten. The meringue is under beaten. The macaronage isn’t processed enough. The macaronage is processed too much.

Will I ever reach macaron perfection? Does it really matter? No matter how they look, they still taste the same. Will I keep making them? Oh yeah. As often as I have over the past few weeks? I don’t think so.

But I WILL keep researching.

 

Macarons: Something a Little Different

I think I’ve mentioned here before that my daughter is on a restricted diet at the moment. It makes cooking a bit of a challenge (no onions and no garlic!!) and baking has been altered somewhat to include gluten free options. The macarons, as lovely and delicious as they are and even though they’re gluten free, are not an option for her as they contain almonds and she has a sensitivity to all tree nuts (I have a similar sensitivity but mine is limited to hazelnuts).

Because of that, I decided to try making nut free macarons today. I found a couple of options. One uses grated white chocolate instead of almonds. Stella, over at Bravetart, suggests using pumpkin seeds (pepitas), which I usually have handy. She also has a recipe for macarons made with corn flour. I made the ones with the pumpkin seeds; maybe I’ll try the corn flour macarons another day.

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They didn’t turn out quite the same as the macarons I’ve made so far but they to taste good. They didn’t rise very well and not one tray of macarons developed feet, unfortunately but I’m not overly concerned. My daughter can actually eat them.

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I filled them with whipped chocolate ganache and raspberry curd and drizzled them with ganache.

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Right now, they’re mellowing out at my backdoor (it’s hovering around the freezing mark, making the great outdoors one giant refrigerator). They’ll make a nice little treat for tomorrow, her birthday.

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