Irish Coffee Macarons
Last week I was in Seattle for two workshops with Helen Dujardin (of My Tartelette), organized by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant (Thanks, Viv and Helen!).
The first was a food photography class where I learned what I expected to learn: that I have a lot to learn. But it was interesting, and great fun watching and learning from Helen and the others attending. I’m looking forward to a day of cupcakes soon (that is, a day of photographing cupcakes).
The second workshop was a macarons-making workshop, fitting, since apparently we’re in the midst of a new macaron age—their trendiness rivaling that of cupcakes.
It was a first for me—first time making macarons, first time taking a cooking class. Helen was a wonderful teacher, full of hands-on advice, plenty of humor, and the occasional sarcastic remark (that always makes me feel at home). I felt as if I came away with a lot: a basic understanding of macaron science, a new French word (macaronnage, the perfect folding of the sugar and almond flour into the egg whites), a new pastry tip and a little jar of powdered pink coloring.
Piped macarons drying before baking
A question—I see this word spelled two ways: macaronnage and macaronage. French scholars, here’s your chance--help me out! I just hope my high school French teachers don’t see this. (Last time I saw them the whole department was lunching at Chez Panisse—I immediately broke into a cold sweat, and hoped they wouldn’t quiz me on the subjunctive).
What I didn’t come away with was any macarons. We had worked in groups of two (or three), and, sadly, I had to leave to catch my train back to Portland before the macarons came out of the oven.
What do you think? Feet, or cunning little pencil skirts?
But I did see pictures, thanks to Paula Thomas’ post, Sweet Tartelette Workshops (which includes a lot of photos from both workshops). Other photos can be found at Jackie Writes (make that other wonderful photos—I have a lot to work towards!).
Normally I let classes settle before trying out my new skill. Not so much to let things percolate, but rather because I’m kind of lazy that way. This time I was shamed, er, inspired, by another classmate, Nurit at Family Friendly Food. Apparently she went straight home and started baking.
Her macarons, filled with plum jam and whipped cream, nodded towards the famous meringue dessert called Pavlova. Maybe her macarons deserve a new name: Pavlovarons?
So I decided to be productive as well. Following Helen’s basic macaron recipe, I separated my eggs a day ahead, letting the whites age for 24 hours (and, indeed, 4 grams of moisture did evaporate). I decided to make my macarons for St. Patrick’s Day. Since I didn’t have green powder coloring (our local supplier was out—go figure!), I decided to make Irish Coffee macarons.
Only they’re really Irish Mocha macarons. I added two teaspoons of ground coffee to the powdered sugar and almond flour. The filling is a simple ganache, with a couple of tablespoons of Bushmills added, for Irish oomph.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with these first macarons. I think I see macaron feet there. Or, if they’re skirts, they’re pencil skirts, no huge flounces. I’ve tucked the macarons away to cure for a day. Curing allows the moisture of the filling to invade the macaron, making it shatter-proof when you bite it. By the time we’ve eaten our corned beef and cabbage, and had a Guinness or two, the macarons will be ready and waiting.
Now I just need to decide what kind to make next. I have a glut of Meyer lemons, and Easter is coming…
And, finally, a video from the workshop, from Luuvu: