Anyone who knows me well or reads this site knows that I love Macarons and Pierre Herme. Unfortunately he has no shops in this country (which is apparently shortly going to change) so when I heard rumours that Monsieur Herme’s “Macaron” book was coming back into print I knew I had to get it. When it was first published I left it too late and when I finally went to place my order it was out of print. Yes the book isn’t the cheapest and yes its completely in French but to be fair its absolutely gorgeous and has every macaron recipe you could ever wish for, including all his signature flavours. If you have ever wanted to try the foie gras or the ketchup macarons then this is the book for you, as alongside the more regular flavours the book is full of interesting and experimental combinations.
After a little translation you will not just have the recipes but also quite a bit of advice and explanation on the process of making these adorable little treats. One of the great things about the book is the many, many pictures. Every instruction in the how-to section is accompanied by a picture which means in the 11 pages of this section there are 33 pictures which for me is great as I learn much better visually. Along with the how-to guide there are also chapters on making ganache’s, assembling the macarons, the utensils used and the most frequent questions asked. So far ive made 3 of the recipes and two were successes and ill share those recipes this week. The third was an absolute disaster.
The only part of the macaron making process that ive ever found tricky is the “macaronage” stage, where you need to mix the batter to just the right stage. If you overmix they will spread too much and cook completely wrong (like the image above and below). If you under mix the batter wont form smooth tops and wont spread at all.
Because I’m far from an expert I thought it might be useful to point you to other online sites that I have turned to in the past for advice and recipes.
- Tartlette – Helen’s site has to be one of the webs most prolific Macaron sites and is full of great advice and interesting recipes and the site is beautiful too. Even better though, for fellow macaron beginners, is the walk through she wrote for “Desserts Magazine” which can be viewed here.
- Another site full of amazing looking macarons is Kitchen Musings written by Veronica who actually took a class with Pierre Herme (not jealous at all!!)
- Syrup and Tang also has a very in-depth walkthrough here
I would however say no amount of reading will help until you get in the kitchen and make a few batches (I found it helpful to make these close together) so that you can notice what your doing right and wrong.
There are a couple of pieces of information that Herme shares that he calls his “Secrets” and two especially have proved useful. Firstly he advises to use what he calls “liquefied” egg whites. These are egg whites that have been separated for, ideally, a week before use and stored in the fridge. Placed in a bowl covered with pierced plastic wrap and left for a 3-7 day rest, the albumin will break down which according to Herme ensures the meringue wont be grainy and will gain volume easily. The second tip is that the macarons should be made the day before because they don’t have the right texture the first day, they will be a little too dry.
As this week is dedicated to Macarons ill be posting two recipes first up is lemon and secondly will be “Frivolité” i.e. Salted Caramel and Apple. Ill post the first recipe tomorrow and the second wednesday or thursday. I also have a very busy weekend coming up. My Dad turned 60 last month, and we already held a small party for him and some of his friends, and this weekend were having a bigger family party so I have a cake to bake a tart to create and another batch of macarons to make, so wish me luck because I might just need it!
Ive made some more recipes from the book and seem to have got the hang of it now, here are some pictures and links to my Macaron Posts