Pierre Hermé’s Macarons Attempt #1

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I finally plucked up the courage to make macarons. Those YouTube videos do make them look easy! I wanted an established recipe, so I went for Pierre Herme’s.

Other blogs / websites that also feature Pierre Hermé’s Macarons recipe:

The Telegraph

Treats

Dessert First

Zen Can Cook

Purple Foodie

*

For the macaron shells
– makes about 72 macarons (144 shells)

300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
110g “liquefied” egg whites (see *)
300g caster sugar
75g mineral water
110g “liquefied” egg whites*

*Liquefied” egg whites. Egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During that time, the egg whites lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without the risk of turning “grainy”.

Sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Stir the food colouring into the first portion of liquefied egg whites and pour them over the mixture of icing sugar and ground almonds but do not stir.

Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118 ºC. When the syrup reaches 115ºC, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites to soft peaks. When the sugar reaches 118ºC, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50 ºC, then fold it into the almond-icing sugar mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.

Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the baking trays on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Sprinkle every other row with pinches of coloured sugar or ruby glitter. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.

Preheat the fan oven to 180 ºC then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during cooking time. Out of the oven, slide the shells on to the work surface.

*

I used only 1/3 of the recipe, half of it with matcha powder and another half with coconut powder. I also aged the egg whites for 2 days in the fridge. This yielded 48 shells.

My first batch of meringue was too flat and runny, so I made another with fresh eggs.

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They could even form tear drops! Goodness!
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Failed meringue

2nd try: (Whipped the egg whites stiffer before adding the hot syrup)

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At least this time it’s kind holding its shape.

The texture of macaron meringue was very different from that of Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC). The ratio of syrup to egg whites in macaron meringue is double that of IMBC. Therefore, the macaron meringue tends to be runnier and very very gluey!

I found that no matter how long I whip the macaron meringue, it just wouldn’t get to stiff peak. It’s so heavy and it’d just fall back onto itself. I might have done something wrong?

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The peaks hung down like that because it’s so sticky!
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This’s the “Tant pour tant” (=TPT: equal parts of almond meal & powdered sugar) with half of the whites

After folding (macaronage) to the right consistency:

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It’s done when the (very sticky) batter flows down the spatula and forms ribbon on the batter in the bowl.

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I drew my own circles with a bottle cap

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Piping was tricky as the batter continue to flow out of the nozzle when I’ve finished piping one shell. Had to work through this really quickly!

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I thought these looked the part!

and after baking…

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I think these were baked at 180ºC on the middle rack. It was clearly too hot because they’d all browned and the feet came out 😦

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This one even looked kind damp in the middle?!
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They came off easily from the baking paper – a sign that they’ve been fully baked.
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As expected, the shells were hollow. All those feet had come out…
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and I burnt my second batch…..
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These little guys cook very quickly. Every second counts!
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This was the coconut batch. I folded the batter to a thicker consistency so they spread less, but not as smooth.
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These were baked at a lower temperature.
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Still, they browned! :((
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Their feet were kinda sticky too…

Next batch:

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This was my last and best batch. They’re baked at 170ºC on the lowest rack. Started with 10 minutes, then watched them. 
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They looked the part!!!
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Not too brown on the bottom too

I filled the OK-looking shells with some leftover kaya, strawberry jam and ganache.

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And then, they were ‘matured’ in the fridge for 48 hours.

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This was the strawberry
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This was chocolate ganache

The maturation is really important! Also important is to bring them to room temperature before serving. Depending on the filling, they could be quite hard right out of the fridge. For e.g. chocolate ganache that sets into almost solid in the fridge will make the shell rock hard!

The shells tasted sickeningly sweet on their own right out of the oven. Plus they’re very sticky, so it’s like eating sticky sweet cookie. After maturation, it’s not that bad but it’s still very very sweet.

I made a total of four batches here, 12 shells in each batch. I found that the trickiest part isn’t the making of the macaron batter, but to understand your oven, because the macarons are just so crazily sensitive to heat!!! A good oven with even heat distribution is the best.

Better luck next time! 😀

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