Round five of the BI Bakers dozen and it was finally my turn to show off my baking skills. No longer could I hide behind the so called blog whilst eating everyone else’s homemade treats; this time I had to provide the wares. Easier said than done!
I would like to make it clear; I love a good baking session, and will frequently use any excuse to get out the mountains of equipment stored in my tiny London kitchen to bake some delicious treats that will be well received – Millionaire Shortbread and Brioche being my more recent success stories. However, for my first time baking for the BI team, luck was not to be on my side. Of course, this had nothing to do with the fact that I just so happened to organise a BI Bollinger Bond Bash the night before – an evening to celebrate the new release of Bollinger’s 007 Millésime 2009, so naturally we had a Martini Bar. Whoops! Sometimes these things just can’t be helped.
Even before I left the Bash to journey home for the night, I suddenly remembered that my sturdy supermarket shut at 11pm. Hastily, I ran to the nearby Sainsbury’s to pick up the remaining ingredients required before all shops closed their doors to my midnight madness. When I returned to the office, strolling past with a large tub of double cream and three bars of Green & Blacks white chocolate, I was received to the jeers of “Is that your dinner?”…
By the time I arrived home it was nearing 12am, but still I persevered; determined not to arrive empty handed for my hungry comrades (like two other BI Bakers before me). Suddenly, I recalled some very helpful baking advice I had heard from a trusted and well-documented resource from a certain individual. Did you say Keith Floyd? No, the Smash and Bash Cupcake Fairy of course.
I have made macarons many times before and previously they have been very successful.
However, at midnight after a 007 escapade, I was in desperate need of some assistance and the added time pressure meant I had to make do with the ingredients I already had. This was going to make some interesting flavours. Needless to say my fool-proof recipe from the macaron master himself – Pierre Hermé – was severely adapted and therefore could no longer be relied upon. “Je suis vraiment desolee Pierre” [I apologise profusely Pierre for what is about to ensue.]
Following previous bakes, I was going to reproduce the recipe for you all to try at home but, as you can imagine, this would be rather difficult considering how much I didn’t stick to it and how they turned out. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.
Tips: For anyone not familiar with making macarons, supposedly it is important the egg-whites are liquidised not fresh. Ideally they should be put into a cling-film covered bowl and left in the fridge for one week to allow the whites to lose their elasticity to allow for a lighter batter. Sadly I had to make do with fresh. Next, the meringue; I always prefer to make Italian meringue – using a thermometer to heat the sugar-water mixture to 118°C before combing with the dry ingredients. It takes longer to make but, from my experience, I believe it makes a more fool-proof macaron…..that was, until it turned to caramel. Needless to say, their rise was somewhat limited.
The ganache has always been a troublesome one for me but this time it was surprisingly successful, until I got impatient! To start, melt white chocolate in a bowl and add whipping cream a little at a time to integrate and not curdle. I finished it off by adding grated coconut before covering it with cling-film and putting it in the freezer to set. So far, so good until I realised it takes around one hour to set; “It’s already 1am, I refuse to wait another hour! Where’s Uncle Google”. In a desperate panic trying to find a speedy cheat, I came across an article which suggesting ‘whipping’ it. So of course, I crossed my fingers (and my toes) and gave it a go. Initially it was a success, seeming to mirror ganache set in the original method, which worked for the first 20 macarons. However, very quickly it turned to a mousse – a perfect, decadent dessert (will remember this one for my next dinner party) – which started to separate on my third pipping session. Perhaps not the best solution after all, but, being stubborn and refusing to let my 72 macarons go to waste, my disastrous macarons made it to the office and, thankfully, were swiftly devoured.
So far, I am not the only one whose Friday bake has suffered at the hands of a Thursday tipple, and I’m sure it will not be the last.
Join in next week for Round 6. Happy weekending everyone!!