Pretty Sweet is a High-End Patisserie Service run by Claire Clark and Sarah Crouchman. They kindly offered to help me improve on my Macaron skills. Who could resist a MASTERCLASS with these top professionals! Today it was back to school for mylegoman!
I imagined Claire to have a leather bound compendium of recipes…. Not the case… The definitive recipe for Mac’s written in pencil on a scrap of paper…. However it was completely different from the recipe I had used previously…..We chucked out the ‘French Meringue’ method and went straight into the ‘Italian Meringue’ method because the meringue is more stable. The aging of egg whites went out the window… eggs just need to be at room temperature. Spending hours sieving ground almonds endlessly went out the window in favour of blitzing them in a food processor. Then its all about experience…. when adding the ingredients…. The thing I don’t have…….
My next big lesson was piping! Usually my kitchen by this point is covered in sticky stuff … the walls, every utensil, every surface and every bowl….. there is an art to the piping bag and I didn’t have it! Practice! Practice! Practice!….. I don’t know what Claire’s piping speed is….. Imagine in the world of pastry…. aim for 100 macarons per minute? My over thought out attempts on the worktop were far from perfect… ! And then in true mylegoman style I put sleeve in the macrons then seemed to cover jeans in sticky stuff! Then it was in hair on glasses and I was covered from head to toe!
I had a fabulous day with Claire making two batches of Macarons….and learning from the expert. The Macarons tasted amazing, brilliant texture with a Dark Chocolate Ganache in the center and pink Macarons with a Rhubarb Jam and ‘Pate a Bomb’ filling…. Not at all a butter-cream, a delightfully light vanilla infused filling made with egg yolks.
I still have a long way to go in quest for a decent Macaron, however progress was made today! …..And tomorrow I have the perfect excuse to buy a KitchenAid and Digital Sugar Thermometer! Excellent!