The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves …
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2
Was my failure on Attempt no. 7’s the fault of the recipe or the baker? Let’s find out!
I am trying the strawberry macaron recipe once again, this time substituting cocoa powder for freeze-dried strawberries. The recipe doesn’t say so, but I know from a previous recipe (and from a previous failure) that the cocoa has to be dutch-processed cocoa, like Droste; Hershey’s won’t work.
So, once I again I assemble the ingredients, going through the motions rapidly, and I suddenly think that this must be what a long-time sex worker feels like: it’s no longer fun mixing and sifting the dry ingredients together or whipping the egg whites. Instead, it’s just 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, in-out-done.
With that image in my mind, I can’t wait to taste this week’s entry.
Before starting, however, I check out a video on whipping the egg whites to see if my technique has been wrong all along and I learn a few things – like that I’m clutching at straws.
|The meringue is glossy, right? The batter flows like lava, right?|
|Ready for piping: Smackie meets Georgia O’Keefe. The batter turns out to be a little difficult to control.|
The whites still take close to 10 minutes to firm up, but this may be because I aged them for only 3 hours instead of 3 days. (“Up to 3 days” clearly includes “zero.”) Then I mix the dry ingredients in, and by the 25th stroke, the batter is so loose that, after I spoon it into the piping bag, it drips out the end of the bag and all over the counter. This is going to be really interesting. “Really interesting,” as in “kind of disastrous.”
The first batch comes out of the oven after 18 minutes, and they are a mixed bag. In all, I get 14 apparently useable shells out of 35. The second batch has only two cracked shells, but the bottoms stick to the SilPat; I get 18 shells by changing my definition of “apparently useable” to “the bottom will remain intact if I don’t poke it too hard.”
|The smooth-topped shells have feet, albeit small ones; the cracked shells have no feet, meaning the steam escaped through the top.|
|Some come off the SilPat neatly, and others don’t.|
I put them together with the chocolate ganache from Attempt no. 7 and a jar of Skippy, put them in the fridge overnight, and then pack them for a trip across the Atlantic.
Next: the results, and Smackie goes to the U.S.