Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a Macaron Class run by Edd Kimber, The Boy Who Bakes, who won last year’s Great British Bake Off. Macarons have been a challenge that I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time, however their recent high-profile on many cookery shows has made them seem difficult to make. How wrong was I! As well as being very friendly (and telling us all the backstage stories from GBBO!), Edd showed us how to perfect a macaron recipe which is not that hard and also quite fun!
I will not spoil the recipe (for that, you need to buy Edd’s new book, it is pretty fantastic!), however some of the tips are too invaluable not to share. We used the Italian Meringue method (which uses a sugar syrup), as it allows you to be a little bit more brutal with the macaron mixture. Whilst mixing the meringue with the icing sugar, we were encouraged to beat the mixture, which seemed to go against all other macaron advise but worked marvellously. Edd provided us with a red coloured food powder which he buys from a store in Paris called G. Detou, but he also recommended concentrated food colour gels, as the amount of water in them is so minimal that it will not destroy the meringue. Another factor which I did not really consider was the humidity of the room which you are baking in. The demo kitchen we were in was nicely air-conditioned, therefore when we left them to rest they had formed a nice skin on top after around 15 minutes. However, should you make them in a hot and humid kitchen, it may take hours before they are ready to bake, so lots of patience may be required.
After lots of fun piping, resting, baking (and a glass of champagne), our macarons were ready to fill. A few of mine had cracked slightly on the top which may have meant they had not rested enough, and had we had more time I could have put them in the freezer to harden a bit quicker. We filled ours with a range of ready-made fillings including nutella, lemon curd and jam. Edd recommended some homemade fillings such as chocolate ganache, and I’ve been thinking of quite a few more to try when I make my own (unsupervised) macarons later this week. Needless to say, when I took these to some friends last night, they disappeared very quickly! However, we were lucky enough to get some homemade raspberry macarons from Edd, and these are waiting in my fridge, ready to be gobbled with a glass of wine this weekend.
Edd runs monthly macaron classes in central London which I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to learn in a relaxed and friendly environment (and he hinted at some day classes coming soon). Check out his website for more details. Thanks Edd!