Macarons! Macarons! We were in a love-hate relationship. It took me so long to be able to make them well! Mastering the macaron technique is more difficult than taking a law exam. Seriously.
Failed 3 times, frustrated, persisted, searched the web, and realized that macarons had been harsh on others too! The macaron shell is the source of all troubles, the common problems include, no "feet" (the tiny ruffles along the circumference), soggy crust, cracks on crust, or they just turn out to be extremely sweet almond cookies.
The first time I had macarons was very unpleasant (that patisserie makes really bad macarons). I was so turned off by its excessive sweetness and hard crust which stuck to my teeth that I stayed away from it for a number of years. Macarons and I finally crossed paths again when my sister made me try one from the Island Shangri-la, telling me that it's really good. So I tried, very unwillingly, and then taking another bite, willingly this time, admitted that the macaron did taste great!
The perfect macaron shell should have two layers, a very thin, smooth, egg shell-like crust and beneath it is the soft, slightly chewy, meringue-like texture. It took me three failing attempts to finally get the macaron technique and make decent, "legit" macarons. I will share with you all the "secrets" to making macarons, however, it is inevitable to experience some flops before you truly grasp the technique. Meanwhile, you may also read "Demystifying Macarons" by Helene Dujardin for inspiration. Have fun experimenting!
Tips for making nice macaron shells:
1. Use aged egg whites (48-72 hours).
2. Beat the egg whites until they stand.
3. Mix in the dry ingredients (almond power and sugar and any other flavouring e.g. matcha powder) into the beaten egg whites with a few very quick strokes and then slow down for a few more strokes until all the ingredients are well combined and form a slightly runny but also a little thick batter. Do not over mix.
4. When you're done piping out the small rounds on the baking paper, leave it there for 45-60 minutes before shoving it into the oven. This process and the aged egg whites are crucial for creating the "feet".
Please click read more for the recipe.
For the Matcha Macaron Shell
(serving: 8-10 macarons, unless you're making grand ones like mine)
- 1 aged egg white, 10g of sugar, 40g of ground almond, 60g of icing sugar, 1tsp of matcha powder
1. Mix the almond power, icing sugar and matcha powder together.
2. Sieve the mixture. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg white with an electric mixed at low/ medium speed until it turns foamy. Add in the 10g of sugar gradually and beat until it stands (won't drop even when you turn the bowl upside down).
4. Pour in the powder mixture into the egg white.
5. Give around 20-30 quick strokes to combine the ingredients. Then slow down and mix them with 20-30 more slow strokes.
6. Put the mixture into a pastry bag or a ziplog bag. Cut the end and start pipping out the small rounds of 3-cm diameter. Instead of a pastry bag, you may use a syringe for baking.
7. Bang the baking pan, where your macaron shells are piped on, against the table for 3 times to avoid air bubbles from forming on the crust.
8. Set aside for 45-60 minutes before putting them into the oven.
9. Bake the macaron shells at 140C for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size. Of course you have to preheat the oven for 10-15 minutes beforehand.
10. Once done, carefully remove the macaron shell from the baking paper. They should not stick.
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
- 75g of cream cheese (room temperature), 1/3 cup of icing sugar, lemon juice and zest from 1/2 lemon (the amount of sugar and lemon juice and zest can be varied, I prefer to add less sugar and more lemon as I would like to balance out the sweetness of the shell)
Preparation1. Mix the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer at low speed until smooth.
2. Add in the lemon juice and zest.
3. Mix well. No need to chill before use.
1. Fill one macaron shell with the filling. You can use the pastry pipe or a spoon to do that.
2. Top the filled macaron shell with a clean shell and let it sink.
So there you go, a bite of France!