Last Sunday, we were at Divertimenti with my friend Sybille to teach how to make Macaroons.
It’s always a pleasure to meet there, the shop is full of utensils that you’d love to buy if only you had more space in your cupboards….
As it’s not the first time we are teaching that class, we both have our routine and while preparing all the ingredients we take the time to catch up about each other life and new recipes!
I became pretty busy with my twins for the last 8 months and Sybille moved on the east side and became a yoga teacher. Still a chef she wants to create recipes for people who wants to live a healthy and yogi life. Interested in raw food and all the new techniques of dehydration, she writes about her experiences on her blog Living Food and Yoga and also make demonstration at Divertimenti. I tasted some of her raw chocolates and raw cheesecake and I have to say that it’s absolutely delicious even if it’s dairy free which is almost a sin for a french chef!
Anyway, today we are teaching proper French pastry: Macaroons, Financiers and Congolais to 12 students expecting gorgeous macaroons to bring back home. I hope they will be satisfied!
First of all, we introduce them to the core of the subject…. BEING ORGANIZED….! If one thing to remember when cooking, baking…. it’s that one and especially for macaroons otherwise, you’ll turn crazy and never get your macaroons done!
Once they get all the utensils prepared, all the ingredients carefully weighed and classified by trays to distinguish the fillings from the shells ingredients then they can start cooking but at that stage… half of the macaroons method has been explained!
We start with the fillings. We are demonstrating the Caramel Beurre Salé filling then one group at a time they come in front of the other and make another filling such as Mint & Chocolate, Rose & Litchi, Orange & Cinnamon.
That way, they learn to make chocolate filling (ganache), curd and butter cream and back at home, when they fill comfortable with them, they can start trying different flavors.
Once they are done, we pour the fillings in piping bag and store them in the fridge until it’s time to pipe them in the shells.
Speaking of shells, it’s time to talk about piping bag, nozzle, meringue as well as “macaronnage” and “croûtage” (crusting). Within a few minutes, our students will be given the last secrets of the Macaroons!
This is the tough part actually as each group has to work on the consistency of the shells mix. If too liquid, the shells will be as flat as biscuits, if too thick, the shells will never get that nice shape that make them look like pop out of a mold….
Eventually, they all get the right consistency and now they start to enjoy or struggle with the piping bag…. the position, the piping, the twisting, the space in between each shell, the respect of the size…. scared and enthusiast at the same time, we take the time to get each student to understand how to make it right. Eventually each student has made a few perfect shells if not all of them for the best ones!
A few trays later….. no more immaculate aprons but wonderful shells to be!
Now it’s time to let them crust at least 20 minutes if not overnight if they are at home. Also time for a short lunch break before the last recipes of the class: the mini treats.
While that time the shells have crusted and we have baked them, the shells are perfect and as soon as they have cooled down, the last technique is explained: the filling of the shells. First they will match the shells if they are not of the same size…. which never ever happened! Then with the piping bag, they will drop a small amount of filling on a shell then put the other shell on top and twist and press at the same time until the filling appears close to the border.
That’s it! Our students have hundreds of Macaroons ready to take away at one condition…. the hardest one!
Waiting another 24 hour before enjoying the taste of their hard work!
Indeed the macaroons shells are not flavored, it’s the filling that will give the taste to shells after a few hours…. That’s cruel I know but it makes it only better when you had to think about it a whole day!
While some of the students keep on filling the macaroons shells, the other ones bring the last touch to the mini treats… they dip the bottom of the Financiers or half of the Congolais in melted dark chocolate and let them cool down on a tray…. This is the little details that takes a couple of minutes but makes such a difference!
Here we are, 3 hours 1/2 later and trays full of pastry to bring back home and share with friends or family!!!!
If you want to give it a try….