However, we quickly came across a dilemma - which course should we sign up for?? And then we remembered our previous attempts at making macarons:
|Pancake-y macarons that kind of look like baked dog poo, because|
I only had a star tip for the piping bag. They tasted awesome though...
|Super puffy and super fall-y apart-y raspberry macarons. Good, but almost|
impossible to assemble. Basically, really sad meringues.
The decision was obvious.
So on Saturday, Deidre and I headed to the Ganache shop to learn how to make macarons PROPERLY.
You guys may or may not know that Deidre and I have something of a phobia of raw egg. I *may* have sent her a text message a week or so before the course that said "Oh my God, do you think we'll have to crack the eggs? Because that would lead to disaster...". Thankfully, macarons are a labour of love, and the egg whites that you use need to age for a full week in the fridge before you use them (herein lies step 1 of a millionty on the path to Where We Went Wrong Last Time), so we didn't have to crack any eggs. Which is excellent, because there would have been "OH GOD THE EGG IS TOUCHING ME!!"-ing in front of a group of strangers. And that would have been awwwwwwkward. So hurrah to egg whites that need to age!
The course started with "compulsory free hot chocolate". Anything that starts with these words cannot be a bad thing. From there, head chef and owner Arno Backes taught us all about macarons. We learned that Ganache make their macarons with Italian meringue (boil water and sugar together, beat egg whites, slowly pour sugar syrup into egg whites while beater is running) rather than French meringue (beat egg whites, slowly add sugar), as it's more forgiving. Once the meringue is made, you add in the dry ingredients - which have ALSO been maturing for about a week.
(Seriously, you guys - macarons require a LOT of planning ahead...)
And then it was time to get our hands dirty. We mixed red food colouring into our portion of macaron batter (wherein we learnt that we were FAR too gentle with the mixture last time), and spooned it (very awkwardly, in my case) into piping bags. And then the piping started:
|Me and Deidre looking like we know what we're doing|
|Piping is fun, yo.|
The next step in Where We Went Wrong Last Time involved banging the tray to flatten out the macarons. We tapped them gently. Uh, NO. You need to bang the living crap out of that tray. Make as much noise as a two year old who's got a saucepan and a wooden spoon, and you'll be on the right track. Not surprisingly, banging the tray is far more effective than tapping it gently.
The macarons sat for five or ten minutes, or until the tops were no longer sticky to the touch. And then they went into the giant, could-walk-into-it-if-you-really-felt-the-need-to oven:
|Hello, enormous oven.|
While they were in the oven, Arno told us all about how he became a Master Chocolatier and Patissiere (answer: lots and lots of training), which was completely fascinating. I'd honestly never thought about how much training goes into a career in chocolate and baked goods! And he's so passionate about what he does.
While the macarons were in the oven, we also learnt how to make ganache and what you can use it for:
Arno: This is a good, basic ganache. You can use it to fill macarons. You can use it to fill a cake. You can use it to ice a cake. You can mix it with Mexican chilli powder and put it on chicken as a mole. Or you can put it in a little pot next to the toaster and have it on your toast in the mornings!
Me: BEST. IDEA. EVER.
The ganache we used to fill the macarons was made with raspberry puree instead of cream, and it was quite possibly the most amazing thing of ever. Like, ZOMG. I am totally going to make some and keep it in a little pot next to the toaster. And when I weigh a thousand kilograms and have to be lifted out of the house by crane, I will have no regrets whatsoever.
Once the macarons came out of the oven, we sorted them into pairs and filled them with delicious ganache, and somehow managed to fight the urge to squirt the piping bags of ganache directly into our mouths. (Seriously. It was that good.)
Remember when I said before that macarons are a labour of love? Yeah. Once you've baked them and filled them and squidged them together, you have to put them in the fridge for 24 hours to soften and allow the flavours to develop.
This is seriously hard work. It helps if you have a tub of fancy pants ice cream on hand to take away the pain of waiting. But it's so totally worth it at the end of that 24 hours.
Obviously, the REAL test will come when I make macarons by myself. But that will require the purchase of three things:
1. A candy thermometer for the sugar syrup;
2. A digital scale to ensure ingredients are weighed properly; and
3. A minion to crack and separate the eggs for me, because NYARGH.
But once I've covered those three bases, I'm going to give it a go and see if I can replicate the final product at home!
The course was a lot of fun and if you're curious about making macarons, you should seriously consider going. If you're not interested in making them yourself, you should still swing by Ganache for a hot chocolate and a macaron or two. Both of them are totally worth it!!
Disclaimer: Ganache gave us a discounted price in exchange for blogging about the course. All opinions are my own. A huge thank you to Ganache and Arno Backes for the opportunity to make macarons that don't look like they've been sat on!!