These macarons happened because I discovered the book Les Petits Macarons. I love this book.
The book gives details of four methods for making the shells: Italian method, Swiss method, French method and Easy French method. Inspired the “right” method is the one that works for you, and the only method I had used so far had been the French method. I had to confirm there wasn’t a better method for me out there.
Now I didn’t follow the book exactly because I wanted to really compare apples to apples.
For all batches, I used the same quantity of almond meal, sugar, and egg whites as written in the book. I didn’t add anything else that was called for in some, such as cream of tartar or egg white powder. Also, I didn’t follow the baking directions. Instead, I did my usual rest for thirty minutes (give or take) and baking at 300 degrees for 14-16 minutes.
The French method was the clear winner. Besides looking the best, I actually enjoy the process the best. Italian method was a close second as far as appearances, but I totally botched it with the heating sugar part. Most of it ended up on the side of the mixing bowl – FAIL. I enjoyed the Swiss method as I do enjoy whipping over a double boiler, but they look crazy. As crazy as they look, they were impressively consistent in they craziness. The little hats were askew on all of them in almost the same way. The Easy French method may be appealing to some, but they look funny and I didn’t enjoy the process.
In addition to the shell recipes, there are some fabulous flavor/filling ideas. The strangest sounding one was the Buttered Popcorn filling, so that is what I made. It is subtle on the popcorn, but quite delightful. I am fairly certain I will be making that one again. Actually all the fillings I did this day are worth repeating.
Batch 4 – meh:
- Italian method – pouring hot sugar syrup into the egg whites
- Color: Blue
- Filling: Buttered Popcorn (recipe: Les Petits Macarons)
Batch 5 – ruh-roh:
- Swiss method – partially cooking the egg whites and sugar by whipping over a double boiler before whipping to stiff peaks
- Color: Green
- Filling: Wasabi white chocolate (based on recipe in Mad About Macarons) – Note: next time I will double the wasabi, too subtle for my taste.
Batch 6 – Woohoo!:
- French method – just pouring the granulated sugar into the egg whites
- Color: Yellow
- Filling: Buttered Popcorn
Batch 7 – ruh-roh:
- Easy French method – no egg white whipping, but batter resting
- Color: Purple
- Filling: Balsamic Fig (ricotta cheese mixed with fig jam and balsamic vinegar to taste) – fabulous quick and easy filling
These were shared with my peers who are always willing tasters – even when the macarons do not look the part of proper macarons.