Squeaking in with a last minute entry for this month’s Mactweet #15 project. Find some macinspiration, said Deeba and Jamie. “Combine or integrate your macarons into any dessert, making it a new part of an old favorite, or turn your macarons into your favorite dessert,” said the post.
Sorry, but inspiration don’t live round here no more.
Actually, it’s probably just gone on holiday along with the rest of my brain.
But wait, what’s this? It’s an Australian public holiday tomorrow - a day when pavlova and lamingtons will be out in force. Well then, I think my pavlova inspired, passionfruit ice-cream sandwich macaron will feel right at home then.
The passionfruit ice-cream recipe is from The Perfect Scoop (by David Lebovitz). I’d been itching to make something from the book ever since I received it from my almost (just a technicality) sister-in-law for Christmas. Even without an ice-cream machine, the ice-cream turned out beautifully creamy and oh-so-zingy. It was also very simple to pull together, I just needed to remember to beat it a couple of times so that it didn’t freeze solid. (You can find some tips on how to make ice-cream without a machine here).
For the macarons, I finally unwrapped my copy of the most recent Larousse Gastronomique (English translation). I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t actually buy cookbooks on a whim, but just couldn’t resist when I saw this one on sale for half price.
The first entry I turned to? Macarons of course. Oh wait, they call them macaroons here. I double checked, perhaps macaron came later? Nope, there’s macaroni, but no macaron. I read through the method. Yes, sounded like macarons alright.
Ok, so I’m no expert, but I thought macaron (single “O”) was the proper French term for these little morsels. There’s even been newspaper articles about it. And I thought macaroons referred to something else entirely - those chewy coconut and egg white concoctions.
Feeling curious, I of course turned to Google, and found this very informative post about the book. Recommended reading if you’re thinking about buying yourself a copy.
My curiosity still slightly piqued, I decided to follow the given recipe to see what type of macarons they produced. Not wanting to waste 7 egg whites as required, I reduced the quantities to: 140g icing sugar, 80g ground almonds and 60g eggwites (based on the assumption that 30g = 1 eggwhite) and added a teeny bit of grated orange zest for flavour.
The instructions were very brief , to paraphrase : sift icing sugar and almonds together, beat egg whites till stiff, sprinkle the icing sugar over eggwhites and fold in. Pipe circles and leave to set for 15 minutes. No mention of lava-like flow, no mention of pulsing icing sugar and almond meal together in food processor, no mention of ageing eggwhites. (All of which I did anyway).
I baked the first tray at 150˚C as recommended, and ended up with frilly footed, browned macaron shells. Oops, I rechecked the instructions, and I’d missed the part where they recommended leaving the oven door ajar when baking.
For the second tray, I covered the rack above the tray with some baking paper, and slipped an oven glove in between the oven seal and the door for the duration on baking. This time, the feet behaved better and I had less browning.
The resulting shells were very, very delicate and slightly chewier than the ones I’ve made using the Italian meringue method. I’ve never been to Ladurée but I’m guessing these shells are what proper French macaron shells should feel like.
And here endeth my foray into the geeky side of macaron baking.
MC Senior didn’t really care what they are called, she just enjoyed sinking her teeth into them :)