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Macarons – The delicate French invention.

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#31 nightscotsman

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 09:33 AM

We haven't made macarons at school yet, but the subject came up and I picked up a really interesting (and possibly helpful) tip: They leave their egg whites out at room temperature in an uncovered (very important) bowl for 24 hours so they lose some moisture. The "dried" whites create a much more stable foam. Of course the students were concerned that this would be a sanitation risk, but we learned that egg whites actually have some natural anti-bacterial agents in them - the instructor even said they could leave the whites out for a week and he would personally drink them to show they were fine :blink: . He did stress that the bowl had to be uncovered or the whites might start to get moldy.

#32 mjc

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 09:56 AM

when I was making macaroons for my pastry club cookie sale, the pastry chef who I work with said to leave the egg whites out for 3 days. I thought thats gross and didn't do it. My macaroons came out ok, but were not as tall as he said they would be if I let the whites sit out longer.
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#33 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 08:00 PM

As I recall Herme's recipe calls for old whites, fresh whites, plus the dried whites.

The idea of raw whites sitting out to loose some moisture doesn't seem right to me (I picture the top layer hardening and nothing changing the rest of the bowl). Why not use a percentage of dried whites in that case?

I think it's about loosening up the alum in the whites (or aging them) because they do whip differently then fresh whites. But you can achieve that leaving them in the cooler for days too.

I also think that your height is in dirrect coralation to how thick your batter was when you piped them. The thinner the batter the more they spread. Which is the biggest problem with the majority of recipes I tried...they were just a hair too thin (less then 1 white too thin). That's why using some dried whites is brilliant, you can change your density.

Perhaps I'm ignorant but I don't find macarons to be the ultimate cookie and perhaps that's why you don't find them all over the place (Americans don't buy them because they aren't familar with them). It's not an American type of cookie, period. My relatives like the "macaroon" cookies they sell at the grocery stores. That's really a coconut flavored sandwich cookie!
Also Dorie Greenspan writes for home cooks. She's become the "interpetor" for the great French chefs. And as such she tries to simplify dirrections and change weight measurements into imperial ones. In the case of macarons theres a feel for the right consistancy and that's my guess as to why she didn't include a recipe for them in her last book. Not that they were too difficult to make. I find them far more difficult to store with-out cracking the tops then to make....they are a bit of a pain. And I think that's what most Americans would think too.

#34 Rhea_S

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 07:35 AM

I tried making macarons yesterday. I did gerbet macarons because I thought smaller ones would be easier to do on my first try than larger ones. Foolish food adventurer that I am, I actually did leave my egg whites to sit out uncovered for 3 days per Nightscotsman. I did notice that the whites whipped up much faster and seemed more stable than regular room temp egg whites. I used a recipe from The French Cookie for lemon gerbet macarons but followed loufood's directions. One thing that I definitely did wrong was use Silpat instead of parchment. I had problems with sticking, so I broke several while trying to remove from the Silpat. Another mistake was forgetting my 2nd batch in the oven and they got a bit too brown. I've never had macarons before, but they looked like all the pictures I've seen -- no cracks, shiny dome, frilly stuff around the edges. As for texture, crisp outside, chewy inside. Does that sound right? I was supposed to fill with a lemon buttercream, but I ended up just putting some homemade blackberry ice cream. I have a few more left and I'll try to take a pic tonight. I'm eating some of my broken ones now and they taste better today than yesterday.

#35 mjc

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 08:05 AM

One thing that I definitely did wrong was use Silpat instead of parchment. I had problems with sticking, so I broke several while trying to remove from the Silpat.

There is nothing wrong with using a silpat. Just freeze the silpat and attached macarons (or parchment even) for a few minutes, and it will be much easier to get them off.
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#36 Rhea_S

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 10:09 AM

There is nothing wrong with using a silpat.  Just freeze the silpat and attached macarons (or parchment even) for a few minutes, and it will be much easier to get them off.

Thank you! I should have asked before I started. Truthfully, I was too scared to do the parchment and water steaming thing. I would have cried if all my macarons ended up in a soggy mess in the sink.

#37 PaulaJK

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 07:35 AM

I once took a cooking class w. Nick Malgieri whom,
if memory correctly serves, chatted about his
early experience w. making macarons. His chef
kept the egg white in the open and they had
to strain out the flies [!!] before using them
in the recipe. Interesting to think that this
was 'technique' vs. frightening sanitation.

#38 rickster

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:45 AM

There is nothing wrong with using a silpat. Just freeze the silpat and attached macarons (or parchment even) for a few minutes, and it will be much easier to get them off.


Tried this technique last night and it worked great. I only lost one macaron out of 2 sheet pans. Only problem I could see, and I don't know if it's the Silpat or the freezing, is that some macaron recipes do not call for a filling to stick the 2 halves together and rely on the stickness of the fresh baked macarons to hold them together. The ones I baked on a Silpat and froze were too dry and smooth on the bottom to do this (I was using a filling anyway).

#39 ludja

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 10:36 AM

One thing that I definitely did wrong was use Silpat instead of parchment. I had problems with sticking, so I broke several while trying to remove from the Silpat.

There is nothing wrong with using a silpat. Just freeze the silpat and attached macarons (or parchment even) for a few minutes, and it will be much easier to get them off.

I've read about the best places to get Macarons in Paris

Best Macarons in Paris

and now I'd like to try my hand at making macarons at home. I've read through this and related threads, read my book, The French Cookie Book by Healy and Bugat and my knees are knocking a little...

One question I had before I jump in and try these is the cooking surface. I don't have Silplat and I also don't have the newsprint heavily suggested in Healy and Bugat's book.

Does anyone know if parchment paper will work?

If so, should one use the method of running some water in between the parchment and cookie sheet to help steam them off?

Thanks, just wanted to check if I had a reasonable chance of success without purchasing a Silplat or trying to hunt down unprinted newspaper!!!

Edited to add that Healy and Bugat say that parchment paper will negatively effect the cooking and subsequent steaming to release.

Edited by ludja, 18 January 2004 - 02:22 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#40 Naomi

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 10:42 AM

Nigella Lawson's Pistachio Macaroons... from Domestic Goddess. These are quite simply spectacular. Here's her own description:

"These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired. Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one of which I think I'm most proud: cookie bliss."

and here is the recipe:
Pistachio Macaroons

#41 ludja

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 10:51 AM

Nigella Lawson's Pistachio Macaroons... from Domestic Goddess. These are quite simply spectacular. Here's her own description:

"These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired. Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one of which I think I'm most proud: cookie bliss."

and here is the recipe:
Pistachio Macaroons

Thank you very much for the recipe Naomi and personal testimonial. In the recipe, it says 'lined' cookie sheet; have you used parchment?

Thanks
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#42 ludja

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 10:57 AM

Oops--sorry for the too quick question; I re-read it a third time and saw "parchment lined"-- Thanks again!


Edited to add: I'm still interested though, if anyone has used parchment successfully (or no) with Healy and Bugats recipes in The French Cookie Book... :smile:

Edited by ludja, 18 January 2004 - 11:14 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#43 alanamoana

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 03:01 PM

i made them every day for several weeks at work and we only used parchment. i think professional kitchens tend to use parchment for everything except tuiles and sugar...the home chef gets suckered into buying these at a huge markup and think they should use silpats for cookies, etc. it's a little ridiculous.

use parchment, and if your macarons are baked properly (to correct doneness) you shouldn't even have to use the water/steaming method. you should be able to lift the parchment and peel it away from the back of the macaroons (a little easier than trying to lift the macaron from the parchment as sometimes, you'll just remove the nice crisp dome and leave behind the semi-chewy interior :biggrin: ).

good luck

#44 nicolekaplan

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 08:08 AM

macarons are really not quite as complicated as all of this
first of all lets clarify
macarons with egg whites or macarons with coconut known as "rocher" or "congolais"
coconut macs are best made with dessicated coconut, that is dried and unsweetened. to add moisture back you add a small amount of very reduced apple puree (you can purchase a product known as "super pomme" from patisfrance) You cook the mixture over a water bath very slowly to reduce the amount of liquid in the mix, let it rest overnight and then bake.
for egg white macs, i have spent some time working in pierre hermes kitchen and made many a mac. 1. old whites are best, we save all of our extra whites everyday and use them for macs, biscuit etc.. however i will caution against frozen egg whites as they tend to be nasty and whip up in seconds and then collapse immeadiately. 2. italian meringue, yes this is correct 3. silpat is easiest
4. let dry until the tops form a nice crust, maybe 20-30 minutes
the way they do it there is to pipe all the macs out (and this is maybe 4-5000 a day) and by the time they have piped the last of them the first are ready to go in the oven.
5. when the macs are cool they are each sprayed lightly on the inside with a syrup that matches the mac, say simple syrup and rose water, then filled.
and let me just say the best time to eat one is standing in the walk in right after you are finished for the day, not the next day when they are for sale at the shop.
nkaplan@delposto.com

#45 rickster

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 09:16 AM

I've made the Bugat recipes with parchment with no problems (at least no problems due to the use of the parchment paper).

#46 PastryBoy

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 02:13 PM

for egg white macs, i have spent some time working in pierre hermes kitchen and made many a mac. 1. old whites are best, we save all of our extra whites everyday and use them for macs, biscuit etc.. however i will caution against frozen egg whites as they tend to be nasty and whip up in seconds and then collapse immeadiately. 2. italian meringue, yes this is correct 3. silpat is easiest
4. let dry until the tops form a nice crust, maybe 20-30 minutes
the way they do it there is to pipe all the macs out (and this is maybe 4-5000 a day) and by the time they have piped the last of them the first are ready to go in the oven.
5. when the macs are cool they are each sprayed lightly on the inside with a syrup that matches the mac, say simple syrup and rose water, then filled.
and let me just say the best time to eat one is standing in the walk in right after you are finished for the day, not the next day when they are for sale at the shop.

nicolekaplan, is there a recipe you could post where you use italian meringue to make macarons as you had explained? or can I simply use a normal macaron recipe and simply boil a sugar (with a little water) to the soft-ball stage and pour it into the whites to make the meringue. :blink:

one more question, you had mentioned that you worked in pierre hermé's kitchen. I wanted to ask if you knew the composition of the filling of the sesame macaron sold at his boutique? is it some almond paste flavoured with black sesame?

thanks for your help! :laugh:
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#47 McDuff

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 02:15 PM

I saw Pierre on the Food Channel recently with platter of pinkish macaroons with rose petals and raspberries. They looked wild. I've tried French macaroons a bunch of times with limited success. I can never seem to get the almonds ground finely enough. And the instructions to mix the batter just till it deflates...I don't know...seems simple enough but I find these hard to make the way I want them to look. Used both Pierre's recipe and Healy and Bugat. And I tried the thing of pouring the water under the paper...totally unnecessary in my opinion. Certainly don't need it with parchment. A quick rest in the freezer and the cookies pop right off. I used to have to make almonds macs every day, the almond paste kind, and would often do coconut macs for parties. Alive Mederich has a good recipe in her little book that uses sweetened coconut and I have a formula from school that uses dessicated. Both involve heating the mixture I suppose to tighten up the egg whites, but letting it sit overnight is a new one on me.

#48 rickster

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 02:31 PM

If you can't get the almonds ground finely enough, there are sources for almond flour, like the Baker's catalogue from King Arthur Flour, and I have bought it at Whole Foods Market under the Hodgson's Mill brand.

#49 nicolekaplan

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 09:12 AM

macaroons ala pierre herme

2k TPT
1k sugar
750 g whites

use italian meringue and tamis several times

good luck
nkaplan@delposto.com

#50 Anu

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 09:33 AM

I could also contribute a recipe for his chocolate macaroons if anyone's interested - He stopped by the restaurant I worked at this summer...Amazing to watch him in action - According to him, we had to wait at least a day to try his delicious creations...

#51 alanamoana

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 10:11 AM

2k TPT

is this equal parts almond meal and powdered sugar? i.e. 1K almond meal and 1K powdered sugar?

#52 PastryBoy

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 11:37 AM

2k TPT

is this equal parts almond meal and powdered sugar? i.e. 1K almond meal and 1K powdered sugar?

you got it! TPT (tant pour tant) means equal weight sugar and almond flour/meal. :wink:
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#53 Anu

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 11:20 AM

PS - Does anyone know how long these will last refridgerated? I just brought some back from Paris yesterday but was curious about how long they would be tasty for....

#54 artisanbaker

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 11:55 AM

i wouldn't keep them in the fridge and i wouldn't keep them over 3/4 days in an airtight container.

when using a parchment sheet, u can let them cool completely. then turn the paper upsidedown and carefully peel it away from the undersides of the macs.

i usually let mine sit until they are well crusted. the time neccesary depends on the humidity index, but having the a/c fan blowing on them helps if u're in a hurry.

rose water scented pink ones sell like mad on valentines...

i might add that using a low oven will insure they will not take color, important for the pastels...

Edited by artisanbaker, 02 February 2004 - 11:58 AM.


#55 alanamoana

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 06:13 PM

they can be frozen for quite a while...some bakeries (which will remain un-named do this regularly).

#56 FoodMan

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 09:45 AM

I’ve never had let alone make a French Macaroon, but this thread really made me want to try to make some. The Nigella Lawson recipe for Pistachio Macroons sounded simple enough and delicious. It took me two tries to make something resembling my idea of what they should be. The first batch was pretty horrible, they were soft all over and stuck to the paper like crazy…down the trash they went. The second batch came out decent, I think. For the second one I aged the whites for 24 hrs. and made sure the pistachio is very fine (no easy task using a food processor and a sifter). The result was good albeit a little flatter than expected and the crust was not as crunchy as I expected it to be. They did come off easily after a few minutes in the freezer. My other criticism with those is that they were very sweet especially with the buttercream. For the next time I am thinking about trying one of the advices on this thread and make an Italian meringue. Anyways here is a picture of my result. What do you think?

Posted Image

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#57 Katherine

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 10:23 AM

I made a batch myself. I recall I used a plain meringue, chocolate buttercream, and smeared the top with ganache. They were tasty, but thanks to the humidity, within 12 hours they were soggy.

I suppose I could enjoy one with a cup of tea once in a while, but since the recipe ended up making a dozen (with lots of leftover French buttercream), it didn't seem like anything I should bother pursuing.

#58 GG Mora

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 04:23 PM

I’ve never had let alone make a French Macaroon, but this thread really made me want to try to make some. The Nigella Lawson recipe for Pistachio Macroons sounded simple enough and delicious. It took me two tries to make something resembling my idea of what they should be. The first batch was pretty horrible, they were soft all over and stuck to the paper like crazy…down the trash they went. The second batch came out decent, I think. For the second one I aged the whites for 24 hrs. and made sure the pistachio is very fine (no easy task using a food processor and a sifter). The result was good albeit a little flatter than expected and the crust was not as crunchy as I expected it to be. They did come off easily after a few minutes in the freezer. My other criticism with those is that they were very sweet especially with the buttercream. For the next time I am thinking about trying one of the advices on this thread and make an Italian meringue. Anyways here is a picture of my result. What do you think?

Those look perfectly delicious, but they don't look anything like a French macaron. A macaron should have a smooth, nearly shiny top and a sort of ruffly rim around the outside. To put it bluntly, they should look a approximately like a diaphragm (the birth-control kind).

#59 FoodMan

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 08:25 AM

they should look a approximately like a diaphragm (the birth-control kind).


Thanks, now I know what to look for in a Macron :biggrin:. I am planning on trying a different recipe next time around.


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#60 rickster

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 09:03 AM

Some macaron photos at the bottom of this page, for reference:

Pierre Herme Macarons





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