On moving to Dubai last year, I decided to take a break from my career and enrolled myself in a 6-month Patisserie course, which I have mentioned in my previous post on breads. Through the journey of the course I learned various kinds of baking techniques – one of which was French macarons, which is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and castor sugar.
On finishing every class, I used to send the photos of my baked products to my close friend – Namita, who was a self-taught and passionate home-baker who also started enhancing her art of baking from her mother’s kitchen – and my inspiration who led me to sign up for the baking course. We shared a lot of common interests, the biggest ones being baking & cooking. Despite being countries apart, we decided to do a Masters in sugarcraft together and also discussed and planned to start our own cake studio in Mumbai in the years to come.
In the middle of my course, my husband and I decided to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka for a short vacation to meet them and spend some time together. After all the stories that she heard about my class and the art of perfecting macarons, Namita and I decided to make a batch of macarons at her house. We just followed the steps that I was taught in the class and also measured the ingredients precisely. As Colombo is known for it’s hot and humid climate, it was important to fold and dry the macarons in an air-conditioned room. Finally, we were so ecstatic that our first batch of macarons came out so perfect
I didn’t realise that this would be the last time we would be baking together and seeing each other 😦 . This wonderful & deeply religious friend passed away in November 2016 – and was reunited with God.
Apart from just being great friends, we were like soul sisters; we shared everything from each other’s day, likes, dislikes and much more. Whenever I bake or cook something new, I get really excited and go straight to my phone to send you a picture and then do I remember and my smile gets a little dimmer. I just hope and pray that you are happy and still baking some goodies in heaven. Although words can’t describe how much I miss you, I have tried to express it in these lines below –
You’re a friend, a listener
You listen to my problems
And sort them out for me
Our relationship was always like a cake
With a range of ingredients with which we made
To get that amazing taste,
We always added an ounce of respect, care and love
A handful of faith and grace
This kind of cake was rare
And I’ll cherish that all my life
Here’s the recipe to lip-smacking macarons. Make it with your best friend and cherish your time together.
French/Almond Macarons with Italian meringue
Medium to complex
Makes: 40-60 shells
|Almond Powder||120 gms|
|Icing Sugar||120 gms|
|Egg White I||42 gms|
|Caster Sugar||120 gms|
|Egg White II||46 gms|
- Blend icing sugar and almond powder in an mixer (Pulse 6-7 times only)
- Put the above mixture in to a mixing bowl and mix egg white I to form smooth dough.
- To make the Italian meringue, cook sugar and water to 118°
- Start to whisk egg white II in a separate bowl, when the sugar reaches 115°
- Pour the cooked sugar syrup (118°C) onto the above egg white slowly and continue to whisk to form a stiff peak (beat until cools down to 50°C). If any color needs to be added, can be done at this stage.
- Add one third of the Italian meringue to the almond dough and mix until smooth.
- Fold the rest of the meringue little by little.
- Pipe the mix onto a baking sheet with a plain 10mm nozzle.
- Tap the tray to flatten the macaroon shells and rest for 15-20 mins.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 140°C for 12-14 minutes. (open vent for the last 2-3 minutes of baking).
|Dark chocolate||100 gms|
- Bring cream to 85°C in a saucepan.
- Pour over the chopped dark chocolate and stir until it is fully melted.
- Cling film contact and allow the ganache to set at room temperature.
- While making the Meringue, ensure that you clean the bowls, saucepan, and beater with vinegar to ensure that there are no impurities and to get the right consistency.
- Macarons taste best when eaten the next day.