Monday, July 30, 2012

Based on my experience, troubleshooting macarons

This is my personal experience. My experience may differ to yours because I may not have to same oven as yours, weather at where I am living and where you do may be different and ingredients used may not be the same.

I hardly make macarons at home because it's too sweet for everyone at home. As much as I would love to make them and practice on my macaron skills, they are pretty expensive to make and no one eats them so they sit forever in the fridge. After making macarons for the fourth time,I can say 97% of my macarons have 'feet'. In humidity, I turned on my air conditioner and place the piped macarons under the air conditioner for half hour to help the drying process. It was not wet to touch after 20 minutes. Macarons have temperamental issues.LOL. I dont have the fan force function on my old oven so the first batch of macarons came out slightly coloured (baked macaron shells should have the same colour as pre baked ones). The oven temperature was 180C if baking in fan forced oven but using a 'normal' oven, I had to increase the temperature by 10-20 C (different people say different things on the internet), I ignored that rule because I felt it would be too hot, and also I placed my macarons in the middle shelves (Big mistake!!). And also I had left the oven door slightly ajar after 5 minutes into baking time; continue baking the shells for another 10 minutes.

Although, My macarons looked good besides the fact that it was slightly browned.I wasn't satisfied.

After the first batch, I realised I should reduce the temperature to 150-160 degrees and I placed the macarons on the lowest shelf. Baked it in a closed oven for 5 minutes and then open the oven door slightly ajar,continue baking it for another 10-15 minutes.It was almost perfect but still not to my satisfaction but hey,It was definitely better looking then all the 3 times I made before! :) The bottom was slightly wet but most of them didn't stick to the silicon sheets which was a good thing! Quite an achievement but still not there yet. I would try using the French or Swiss meringue technique the next time instead of the usual Italian meringue technique found in Pierre Herme's Macarons book.

P/s: Make sure you sift the almond meal/almond powder. If you not, you will have a grainy top not shiny one!

Another issue I had was with the buttercream. Original plan was an all ribena macaron thing but when I wanted to flavour my buttercream, I realised that ribena sold now is so diluted!! I thought Malaysia had the pre mixed ribena bottles and I bought the wrong one!That was a huge bummer to me. So since I had raspberry jam in the fridge I used a tablespoon of it to give it a better flavour. 
I used my mastrad macaron sheet.
For the macaron recipe, I used the same recipe found the link below but I halved the original recipe (thank god!). And for the buttercream, I used the recipe given below!

Lemon macarons with boysenberry swiss meringue buttercream

Swiss meringue buttercream :
55g egg whites
100g caster sugar
170g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoon raspberry jam
3 tablespoon ribena cordial

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Add raspberry jam and ribena and continue to mix until combined.

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