Macarons

I’ve been going crazy the last few days. Batches and batches of macarons I’ve baked, and then some more. No, I’ve not really lost my mind, it’s just that I have an order for various flavored macarons for a wedding and I’ve been working hard to finish everything on time. Finally, I completed the order this evening and am I feeling relieved, and pretty accomplished too. Well, you see, I decided to use this opportunity to carry out a little experiment. I’ve almost always used the Italian meringue method to make m macaron batter because not only is that the method advocated by Pierre Herme, but it’s it’s also known to be a very much more forgiving method. As you probably already know, macaron making is not for the faint-hearted or the easily-frustrated baker. It’s not exactly the easiest thing to bake up, let’s put it this way. Plus it’s more temperamental than a diva. Oh yeah, and I’m not even exaggerating. But I digress. So I wanted to carry out an experiment. I decided to use both the French meringue and the Italian meringue method and do a little comparison. Th basic difference between the two is that the French method involves just whipping up raw egg whites and sugar while the Italian method involves whipping up the whites with a cooked sugar syrup. The verdict? While the French method is much less cumbersome and easier since it doesn’t require cooking a sugar syrup, the Italian method is the one I prefer. Despite the extra step required in making the syrup and the hassle of using a themometre to check the exact temperature of the syrup (118 deg C), it gives a much better result. Both the macarons had the all-important feet or as the French would say ‘le pied’ (basically the little ruffles at the bottom of the macaron), but the Italian method gave a more pronounced feet and a smoother, flatter shell. I will be sticking to the italian method despite the extra effort required, it’s a lot less stressful knowing that the end result will not be a diva refusing to pretty up and show herself!

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