Written by Rae
So I had a big success this weekend with my macarons! Actually, since the atelier in Paris, I haven’t failed them once. I think the secret is to not baby the macaron batter and to let the shells dry before baking them. Before, I worried too much about “what if” I under beat it, over beat it, etc. As everyone who has attempted macarons before, knows they can be really finicky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Now instead of worrying about the batter, I just beat the sh*t out of it until it can flow from a raised spatula without baking it. The key is to beat the air out of them, so there isn’t any need to be delicate.
The recipe I used was the recipe of Olivier Bajard. If you look at his macarons, they look different from the other ones you can see in major stores. His are airy, fluffy, somewhat irregular in shape and have a rough natural looking texture. We asked his daughter why his macarons looked different when we went to visit his school, and she said he favors the flavor over the presentation. Well, his look whimsical and marvelous to me, if only I could figure out how to make mine look like his! I used his recipe, anyway, to make the “macarons nature,” which means that the shell is not dyed or flavored.
As for fillings, I made two. The caramel banana filling I found out of Christophe Felder’s big pink book called “Patisserie,” and the tonka bean one I found off of the M6 (French channel) website. Both fillings turned out really nice. I really like the tonka bean one because it tastes a bit special. Tonka kind of smells like a sweet vanilla tobacco. It’s a little smoky and has a deep exotic scent. The tonka filling was a bit sweet on it’s own, but worked perfectly with the macaron shells. Actually, I suspect that my taste buds have changed a lot since being in Korea, and I actually prefer much less sweetness . . . so they might taste just right for you. As for the banana caramel filling, it was also good and tastes very strongly of bananas. I wanted to dye the shell yellow, but since I was making two kids of macarons at once, I didn’t bother. I just sprinkled cocoa powder on the top of the banana once to look a bit like the banana shell.
The result: Great! You’re supposed to let macarons sit for a day to become softer and for the flavors to meld. I did that, but I also devoured a few that day! Hey, I had to try them! The shells were very chewy and soft. They had a great texture. You can fill the shells with anything you want from chocolate ganache, fruit fillings, etc. I’m putting the recipe I used for the shells below.
Olivier Bajard’s Macarons Nature
140 g almond powder
185 g powdered sugar
115 g egg whites, mounted
1 g salt
- Sift almond powder and powdered sugar together.
- Mount egg whites to stiff peaks (“bec d’oiseau”) with salt and sugar.
- Incorporate the sifted almond powder/powdered sugar into mounted egg whites. I incorporated the mixture in 3 steps.
- Beat energetically with your spatula (remember the key is to get the air out!) until you can cold the spatula up and it runs down without breaking. They say it should look like a ribbon, but in my opinion it shouldn’t be too loose.
- Pipe out macarons into 3.5 cm diameter circles (I traced something on the back of parchment paper) and then free handed the rest.
- Let shells dry for 20 minutes until they look a little matte. You can preheat the over at this time to 160 degrees Celsius.
- After the macarons have tried and formed a shell, turn the over down to 145 degrees Celsius and cook for 9-10 minutes (or more) depending on the size. Mine cooked for around 9 minutes.
- Wait for the shells to dry and stuff.