Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cath: French Macaroons

Hi guys...I went with the pistachio recipe which sounded so good and Nigella even calls the recipe she's "most proud of" in her Domestic Goddess book. I'm a big fan of hers so I had high hopes! Two tries later I am macarooned-out! The buttercream was amazing--it's almost worth making for the color alone--"pale waxy jade" I think she calls it. Very pretty and very tasty. The macaroon part of the recipe is what got me in trouble. I followed her instructions to a tee last night and just couldn't get the consistency right--mine ended up being flat little pancakes...nothing like the ones in the picture. Plus, and maybe this is because I'm a novice piper and made them too big...I simply could not get them to cook! Oven was at 350 as she suggested but even after TWENTY minutes (as opposed to her recommended 10 to 12) they were over-browned on the outside and a sticky mess on the inside. Here's a pic of them going into the oven:

Other problem was the yield. According to the recipe, I should have had 20 sandwiches. I ended up with 6! And really only three that were photograph-worthy after trying to pry them from the parchment paper...

So I tried again this afternoon thinking I could make some good modifications. I used 6 egg whites this time (as opposed to 2) and a pinch of cream of tartar (in an effort to make them less weepy). They were even more of a disaster than last nights' batch! The main culprit (I think) was the oven temperature. Shouldn't they be more meringue-like and done at a lower temperature? The combination of them browning too quickly but being totally undercooked was really irritating!

I wish I could say they'd been more of a success. They look so pretty in the picture and the buttercream was delish! : (


Blogger Jer said...

I had a similar problem with my macaroons at first ... but putting the macaroon dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes helped firm it up enough to hold its shape before it went into the oven. Also, were your egg whites really stiff before folding in the dry indgredients? I wonder also if the pistachios have a high oil content and that aftected the consistency. Did you toast them before grinding them to a powder? I'm sure the three in the photo were delicious especially from the sounds of your buttercream!

17 April, 2006 08:44  
Blogger Ashley said...

I'm sorry Cath! I made traditional American coconut macaroons yesterday and they proved to do sort of the same thing (brown and gooey in the center) My french ones were much better. I looked at the recipe for the Pistachio ones and maybe the confectioner's sugar to nut ratio is too high. This is the recipe that I've had luck monkeying with, maybe you could just substitute the pistachios for almonds?
1 1/4 cups confectioners’sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (4 ounces), finely ground, or almond flour
3 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

17 April, 2006 10:31  
Blogger Cath said...

I think I'm going to try that--I was looking at your recipe for the coconut and lemon version and thinking the Nigella version sounded a little off. I also love how yours had that nice shiny top--which was maybe because of the granulated sugar? Anyway, will let you know how they turn out. And, Jer, no I didn't toast them beforehand. I definitely will next time. And the refrigeration tip sounds like a good idea too!

17 April, 2006 15:33  
Blogger Cath said...

Ashley, what temp did you do those at? Was that 300 too? And how long?

17 April, 2006 15:37  
Blogger Jer said...

Cath, if you don't like piping I don't think its necesarry with Ashley's recipe as the meringue is pretty thick. I followed her coconut/lemon recipe but instead of piping I just put dollops onto the parchment using two spoons and they came out in perfect circles. Good luck and hope you like these! We really enjoyed them. Ashley, we received another note about your cookies. Big hit!

17 April, 2006 17:42  
Blogger Ashley said...

Hi Cath, the temp is 300 and I think I set my timer for 10 min and maybe rotated them at that point and would check again in 5 min. I think they ended up taking about 20 min.

17 April, 2006 18:08  
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