I’ve never been one to celebrate Halloween but I couldn’t resist participating in this months Halloween themed blog hop. This months host is JJ from 84th & 3rd and as the name would suggest she is from the land where Halloween is enthusiastically celebrated. As someone who didn’t really celebrate Halloween as a child I didn’t have any family favourites or inspiration to draw upon. Sometimes that’s a good thing though. For me, Halloween is a blank canvas so I was able to get creative.
I was on the cusp of mastering Macarons when my old oven died so I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while. Although a new oven does not guarantee great Macarons. When you get a new oven its a really good idea to get a thermometer to check the temperature and also test a few easy, tried and tested recipes to see how it performs. All ovens vary and there is nothing worse than spending hours making something only to ruin it in the oven.
These cute little pumpkins are orange in colour and flavour. Orange shells filled with orange butter cream. I wasn’t brave enough to flavour them with pumpkin so the shape is just for show. I gently drew the faces on the cooked shells, before filling, with and edible ink pen.
I’m not going to write out the recipe for Macarons as there are loads out there in books and on the internet. Instead I thought I would highlight some tips for making good Macarons based on all of my Macaron disasters!
1. Age the egg whites. My backyard chooks give me super fresh eggs, great for everything except Macrons. The fresh egg whites were giving me too much rise but leave the whites in the fridge for 3 days helps.
2. Powdered food colouring gives much better results than liquid. I used an 1/8 teaspoon of yellow and a little less of red to achieve the brilliant orange for my pumpkins.
3. When you add the almond meal stir the mixture just a little more than you think you need to. Mine failed the first few times because I didn’t stir enough meaning no feet and a point that didn’t disappear. The mixture needs to flow like lava so once piped they spread just a little and form a smooth top. Having said that over mixing is also a problem. Macarons definitely need to be made by feel and doing a class really helped me with that.
4. Make a template to guide your piping. I drew little pumpkins on some baking paper and used that as a guide. Just don’t pipe onto the side you draw on as the lead will transfer onto the base of the cooked Macarons. I have clear baking mats so I put the drawing underneath and then I can re-use.
5. Put the uncooked Macarons under a fan for 15 minutes to help form a skin. This helps form those all important feet.
6. Know your oven. Mine has a feature for locking in the moisture. Great for juicy roasts but no good for crispy Macarons. I open the oven door multiple times during cooking to let the moisture out.
Don’t be deterred if your Macarons don’t work out the first time. Persevere as a good Macaron is a great little treat and they also make lovely gifts.
Posted: October 21st, 2013 under desserts.