The last batch of macarons got better and better as they matured, so I’m trying one more batch of cherry macarons, but this time using the Italian method as described in Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride’s Les Petits Macarons. The chief difference between the French and the Italian methods is that, with the French method, you stir the sugar into the egg whites as you beat them; with the Italian method, you make a sugar syrup and pour that into the egg whites, which effectively cooks the egg whites and creates a stronger shell. I’ll say up front that I got so stressed out over cooking the sugar syrup to the exact required temperature that I forgot to take any pictures of the process. If it works, I’ll do it again, and take pictures. And if it doesn’t, we’ll just forget this ever happened.
The authors dry their macarons in the oven rather than leaving them out to form a firm shell: 15 minutes at 95° C followed by 9 minutes at 175° C. With my oven, of course, those numbers are meaningless, but I tried it anyway. What came out was a complete disaster.
|The first batch of shells is flat and footless. I may need to find alternate uses for them.|
I decided to go the air-drying route for batches 2 and 3 (I got three batches from this recipe). The second one looked marginally better, but the third was appalling. Worse, both batches were ridiculously undercooked on the insides, even after 20 minutes in the oven. Most of them went into the trash.
|Smackie says, “It serves you right for using the Italian method. I’m French!”
So, after a night in the fridge, how were they? Actually, pretty damn good. The ones from the second and third batches have a little too much air, and the ones from the first batch aren’t airy enough; still, the mouth feel is close to right. The cherry flavor isn’t strong enough, however, so I think I’m going to have to go a different route next time. The victory goes to the meringue, but I put up a decent fight.