F is for Faking It

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We apologise that your regular EOWTTA (Eating Our Way through the Alphabet) segment is unavailable today - P is for Post Postponed. Instead, please accept this MacAttack 3 offering.

Our hosts Deeba and Jamie wanted us to “do something or add something you’ve never done before but have always wanted to try - maybe drying out fruit to create a flavor/color powder, try Italian meringue, try new flavor combos, try getting feet if you've never done that before... or use your macs to create a new dessert. Out with the old, in with the new!"

I had something new: a candy thermometer. The new toy was purchased so I could make the Italian meringue based macarons. This method had intrigued me for awhile – especially the possibility of adding flavouring to the boiling sugar syrup.

Using Zumbo’s candy cane macaron recipe as the base, I added 40ml of strawberry juice (from fresh berries) instead of water to make the syrup. Unfortunately, the flavour wasn’t strong enough and I really should have made a strawberry reduction, but live and learn.

The resulting macarons look perfect don’t they? Such smooth shells, such gentle slopes instead of the peaking I usually get.

Dainty tiny feet.

But it’s all fake! Every single one had sticky innards, most of which were left on the parchment paper and I ended up with hollow shells.

Never mind, I had some leftover strawberry buttercream/frosting in the freezer, so I filled up the hollows and voila, strawberry cream macarons. Aside from a little stickiness, they actually tasted darn good. Shhh…nobody needs to know that these beauties are actually slightly air-headed ☺

I’m definitely going to have to try this method again once I work out how to overcome the sticky problem – I have a feeling it’s oven temperature. Any suggestions? Apart from the stickiness, I really liked how the macaron shells were so ridiculously smooth, and the meringue really holds up well.

If you’re interested in the Italian meringue method, I read up on them here at Melanger , and here at Syrup and Tang.

Till MacAttack 4, stay sweet.


Jamie said...

Oh you have me laughing out loud! Gorgeous macs and then -Kaboom- fake! Too funny! But as you say, who cares? Filled they are stunning looking! And Congrats on that new thermometer and the Italian meringue. That's next up for me! Thanks for bringing these beauties to mac Attack 3!

shaz said...

Cheers Jamie. It's been so much fun, i can't wait for Attack No 4!

Deeba PAB said...

OH SHAZ...ridiculously smooth & light headed!! You just took my breath away love...WOW! Who would know what lies beneath...they look perfect & ever SO PRETTY! Oooooh, I wanna make macs like you, faking it or not...
Thank you for playing along with us! We love having you on board MacTweets!

sarah @ syrupandhoney said...

Oh you had me fooled at first! I've never tried the Italian meringue method for macarons, so I don't have any suggestions...but I'm glad they were still delicious.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Hi Shaz. I made macarons last week,....for the first time. Secret to getting them off the baking sheet is to get a silicone sheet. They come off a treat. I tried both the silicone and parchment paper and the ones on parchment paper were difficult to take off.

If you can't get silicone, one trick is to hold the paper and pull it away from the macaron as opposed to attempting to lift the macaron off the paper!!!

Well done and you had me smiling with ...they're fake!!!!!

My MacAttack contribution is what to do with fake and broken macarons!

Barbara Bakes said...

They do look perfect! So sad you lost the innards! I'm going to try the Italian meringue method maybe tomorrow.

Hungry Dog said...

Oh, who cares if they're hollow inside? The look gorgeous and it sounds like they tasted fabulous! Great post.

shaz said...

Thank you Deeba, I owe my foray into macdom all to you :)

Thanks Sarah, he he, ethics won in the end ;P

Thanks for the tip Kitchen Butterfly, have to investigate that silicone sheet thingy. I'd actually not really had a problem with taking the macarons off when I used the other method (without boiling sugar first) so was quite surprised with this lot.

Good luck Barbara, can't wait to check it out

Thanks Hungry Dog, they tasted fab, actually there are still some in the fridge and even MC senior was won over (she didn't like the other macarons proclaiming them too sweet)

Heavenly Housewife said...

You know what, that picture is exactly what happens to me. Those funny sticky bottoms and a big hollow under the dome. They look perfect but its a trick! Love you for being so honest. Yes, it is the oven temp. They need to be cooked longer. Here's the problem, sometimes you cook it longer and then t he meringues discolour, which doesn't look good either. You can try covering the macs for the last few minutes with aluminium foil or waxed paper, that can help a little.
Going to take a look at that link you put up on the italian meringues.
You know what though? Despite all the mistakes we all make, I think its the most awesome thing that we are all in this together. :D

shaz said...

Thanks for that HH. Bit sheepish to admit it never occured to me to cover them! I'd like to think I'm a pretty competent baker and I do the covering thing for cakes all the time...*blushes*

Yes, onto the next attack together! (Or after your break)

Lisa said...

shaz..YUM! I would do anything to have one of those right now. With an gooey innard accident, you turned out something brilliant..hollow shells for even more filling! They look beautiful too! I missed the Mac Attack this month, but will join in next month :)

Casey said...

Yes, I had the same experience with the doming (leaving the base of the mac on the tray). I chalk it up to being undercooked. I will admit that I have, in past experiments, put my tray of macs back in the oven, when it appeared that more than one was doing this. Seemed to work! My only complaint when doming happens is that I then need to overfill the mac to have it squeeze out the sides just so. That's a little too much filling for me (but I haven't perfected my filling yet anyway, either!) These look beautiful and it is fun to see what everyone has come up with in their quest for the MacTweets adventure!