Sunday, January 24, 2010

Macarons!

Raise your hand if you have heard of Tartelette.

She’s an amazing food photographer, stylist, pastry artist, and person. And she’s french, too. Très cool! I met her for the first time last weekend when she came to Georgia to be a part of SugarComa and to also teach a class on making macarons. I follow her tweets and that’s how I found out she would be in town. I immediately contacted Tami who was setting the class up to get a spot and yay, I got one.

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These are some of Tartelette’s macarons. Spelled with one o and pronounced like macaroni… without the i sound. I’ve also seen people spell them macaroons. But they shouldn’t be confused with coconut macaroons. These have a smooth rounded outer shell and flat bottom with what’s called “feet.”

And they are just beautiful. The colors. The fillings… well the possibilities are endless.

I’ve been wanting to make macarons forever now, but just hadn’t gotten up the nerve after reading how finicky they are. But I couldn’t pass up a hands on class from Tartelette. Sweet Tartelette.

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The day started with lunch. Thank goodness, because I desperately needed some food after all of the sweets I ate the day before.

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Patti hosted us at her home with the help of Tami and Shameeka. I also met Paula, who I recognized from her Tasty Kitchen profile. She drove all the way from North Carolina to play.

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Tartelette gave us all a few things we would need during the class.

Spatula, #807 tip, large disposable piping bags, powdered food colors and recipe cards.

Macarons only need four ingredients. Just four.

Egg whites, ground almonds, powdered sugar and granulated sugar. That’s it.

And the fillings can be anything you like. Ganache, buttercream, fruit fillings, etc.

You can also add flavorings to the macaron mixture for more possibilities.

But first you have to age your egg whites.

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Appetizing, huh. They need to age at room temperature for at least 24 hours, loosely covered.

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Why? I can’t remember. I was too caught up trying to write and watch and photograph.
But, you need 90 grams of aged egg whites.

Now I have an excuse to buy a kitchen scale. I’d never used one before, but I loved it.

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Whip the egg whites until they are foamy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until you have a glossy meringue. Don’t overbeat.

Like this…

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Place 110 grams of ground almonds and 200 grams powdered sugar in a large bowl.

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Add your whipped egg whites and fold. You don’t have to fold too gently, but you don’t want to over fold either.
If you want to color them, add the powdered food color about halfway through folding. We were all so engrossed in getting the technique right, that not one of us remembered to color our mixture until it was too late. That’s ok. Just another reason for me to make these again… sooner than later.

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It helps to get the expert approval.

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Especially since there were so many of us mixing and folding at one time.

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When the batter is ready, pour it into a large pastry bag with the #807 tip inserted. It will ooze out the end, so keep the bag folded or you can crimp the bottom until you are ready to pipe.

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Then make small piped circles on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

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I think we were all glad Patti had a super big dining table. Big enough for twelve large baking sheets.

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Otherwise, I don’t think we would have all been smiling as much.

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Once your tray is filled, let it sit for about an hour to harden the outer shell before baking.

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Bake at 300F for 18-20 minutes in a regular oven or 280 F if you have a convection oven.

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These were Paula’s. They came out perfect.

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Let them cool.

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And you can whip up some ganache for the filling.

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Tartlelette was so cute and so much fun. I’m so happy I got to make macarons and some new friends.

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I can’t thank her enough for showing us the secrets to these delicate, delicious little cookies. Nope. I’m not afraid anymore. Once I get a kitchen scale … look out.

See more of Tartelette’s macarons.

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