Ooops there was a minor typo on the initial buttercream recipe regarding the pistachio quantity! Sorry!
Oh dear. I am kind of in love with making macarons right now. Like having macaron related dreams and watching the Da Vinci Code movie just so I can get that little bit closer to the home of macarons, Paris. (BTW Audrey Tatou makes me want to learn French. It is just a pity that this girl crush didn't motivate me when I was actually learning French in school - seriously how cute is she? They should play that Chanel ad she is in to teenagers).
My older sister should have been born into a rich family in the Upper East Side of New York because her taste in almost everything is decidedly fancy. She has an exam this week and a macaron care package seemed a way to A. Salvage my baking reputation after two disasterous batches I made her previously, B. Indulge in my macaron obsession and C. Cheer her up with her favourite treats. The flavour combo was her choice- she choose pistachio and being a messer I decided to add rosewater for an underlying floral scent.
In the interests of learning here are my notes on macaron baking:
- Like I said in my initial post I used Bavetart's recipe.
- This time around I had a less successful batch with around 4 on each tray cracking on the top. I think that I beat my meringue too much as I kept adding more colour to get the desired colour and beating. Next time I would add the colour a minute sooner. Also the first time I left out her last minute of beating and that batter was more successful.
- Have all your equipment ready.
- I used the bottom of an egg cup to trace the shape I wanted my macs on the baking paper.
- You should bake macs on the lower third part of your oven.
- Some of these browned slightly on the top, even after only 15 minutes of baking even though the last batch didn't at all and I followed the exact same procedure! Very annoying and mysterious. I think next time I will give them 13 minutes and then check to see if they are done.
- If the batter is making, for want of a better analogy (and there is want) 'farting' noises as you pipe it out then you should return the batter and mix it another few strokes because it has too much air and will crack. I make this mistake.
- I sieved the almond and icing sugar on top of the meringue before mixing in as I felt it would doubly ensure no lumps of dry ingredients.
- The colour will get paler as the macs cook so make them slightly darker than you wish the end result to be.
- Pipe the macs down rather than from the side like choux pastry and she will ensure they are all round and not oval.
- If the peaks remain on your macs after you pipe and tap then your batter is undermixed.
These are just things I found out by trial and error, by no means professional instructions.
For the buttercream
85g caster sugar
4 tablespoons of water
150g butter, softened but not runny
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp rosewater
50g pistachios, finely chopped or ideally ground in a pestle and mortar
1. Beat egg yolk briefly with an electrical beaters until light in colour.
2. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Do not boil. When melted bring rapidly to the boil and boil until the syrup reaches 110oC/225oF on a sugar thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer then test the syrup by flicking a string of it into a bowl of cold water. When you attempt to pick it back out it should form a 'ball' between your fingers that is soft- this is aptly named 'soft ball stage'. This will take 2-3 minutes approx.
3. While beating the egg pour in the syrup in a gentle stream. Beat for 4-5 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick and completely cold.
4. Gradually beat in the softened butter cube by cube and beat for another 2-3 minutes until there are no lumps. Add the rosewater and beat for another minute. Stop the beaters and fold in the pistachios. Pipe onto the macarons for a clean finish.