Sunday, November 6, 2011

Macarons : versions 1 and 2 and a book review too!

How long has it been that that I've been going on and on about my love of macarons? Weeks? Months? Regardless, I decided that this past week was really time to do it! I've been attending a few of food shows in Toronto over the last little while as well as having discovered a local bakery that makes macarons and frankly, I was getting tired of paying disgusting amounts of money for them.

Thus far, I am in LOVE with pistachio macarons - this is why you have all been subjected to photos of pistachio paste and the like. Well I am proud to say that it is finally happened... Macarons have been born in my very own kitchen from my very own hands... TWICE this week! Allow me to explain.

Earlier this week I decided that I was going to finally do it. So I whipped out the lovely book that I bought a few weeks ago entitled Macarons by Bérengère Abraham:

Photo Credit: Better World Books
I got this book at a great price and was glad that it had a recipe for pistachio macarons so I gave them a try. Keep in mind, this recipe calls for the egg whites to be refrigerated for 24 hours prior to being whipped, plus the macarons need to sit (once piped) for an hour and pretty much burped and swaddled while I'm at it! As my darling pastry chef on retainer, Sophie, claimed "this recipe has come from the ancient archives of Le Cordon Bleu...." - a place where recipes never come out ever again except in this book.  I followed the recipe to a T!!!! and this is what I ended up with:
 Yup... we ended up with lovely little green martian clouds. Granted DELICIOUS ones... but nonetheless, these look NOTHING like what is on the cover of the book (see above!). I was crushed...heartbroken and defeated. Poor Sophie was constantly being texted with updates and the messages of sadness... She vowed to give me her recipe on our next visit so that I could try again. While I accepted this gracious offer, I wasn't quite ready to give up just yet! That being said, I'm not even willing to show you process pictures of how these disasters were made! I feel that pathetic about them!

This morning I did some wonderful scoping of Youtube videos and came across a video tutorial from Fine Cooking Magazine on how to make the perfect French macaron. I watched the video featuring chef Joanne Chang and instantly knew I'd found the recipe that would bring me success. Watching her in the video helps IMMENSELY and I recommend that everyone watch it! Chef Joanne has saved my (macaron) life!

I didn't take process photos for fear that today's batch was failure round 2... thankfully it wasn't. Welcome to the world my wonderful little macarons!

Prior to baking - crusted over and ready for the oven

I will admit that they could have had a little more strong colour and have been a little less cooked but I don't even care! There is absolutely no comparison to my previous martian clouds to these bits of heavenly goodness... I mean really!
Now, back to my book review.... this book did provide me with one valuable recipe: the pistachio cream filling. HOWEVER while the filling is AMAZING and I would most likely make it again, it is tiresome and grueling to say the least. Watch the process here:
Step 1 - Boil Pistachios

Post-boiling... peeling of skin has begun

Mmmmm - pistachio skin

Pretty peeled pistachios

Then dry roast peeled pistachios

Then boil sugar and water

Then add pistachios and stir until awkward looking

Then pulse to oblivion in food processor until crumbs form. Add in 1 egg white...

Voila! Pistachio paste... which will be added to other ingredients to make pistachio cream (and you thought we were done!)

Add pistachio paste to 35% cream and cook until disgustingly hot

Add a couple of other things and voila! Now you're done... kinda. Put it in the fridge to cool.
This delightful filling is simply piped between two cookies and then they're sandwiched together. Without any further delay, here they are in all of their beautiful and artistic glory!

This is what happens when you peel the macarons off the parchment paper a little too early


I am in love... and on that note. Good night :)

Sleep sweet and eat sweet!


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