My latest quest to feed my Type A [but inherently lazy] personality is to figure out how the heck to make a macaron. I hate paying $2.00 +/- for each cookie so I figured, I’m a smart girl…I can LEARN how to make it. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for the French Chocolate Macarons with instructions from My Tartelette in Desserts Magazine. The only thing I added was infusing the powdered sugar with lavendar. For the filling, I used a pomegranate curd recipe that I found on LisaMichelle’s website.
Sadly, as you can see from the photo above, my first batch came out miserable – cracked cookie, no “foot” [tasted great – looked sad]. Luckily, my co-workers were all Macaron virgins and I was able to dump that batch on them [as I do most of my failed projects]! That miserable single attempt at Macarons started me on my quest to figure out how to make a macaron. [In spite of someone’s facebook comment to me, “why make it when you can buy it??” clearly he doesn’t realize the depth of my stubborness, cheapness…or unwillingness to be beaten by a baked good]
After questioning some co-workers who are enrolled in various pastry classes throughout the city, I decided to try out Gourmandise Desserts class. Gourmandise Desserts operates out of two locations – one in Venice and another in Culver City at Surfas. The class I took was based in Venice at the St Josephs’s Center, which operates a non profit culinary training program during the day. I arrived 20 minutes early to find our instructor, Clemence, in a flurry of activity prepping for the class. Clemence is not a classically trained pastry chef but is just a fount of information. My ultimate goal is to understand the CHEMISTRY behind baking and that woman has that knowledge in her head and is more than willing to share her knowledge not only in her classes but her “hotline” as well! She welcomes us to call her with any questions we may have! Her warm hospitality drew me in and set the tone for the class.
Keeping in mind that I had read the detailed instructions by Helen of my tartelette, who said that people were shocked to find how aggressive she was with mixing her batch, I still couldn’t picture how aggressive and how much it needed to be broken down. I was shocked when I saw Clemence go to town on it. “but…but…what if you overmix it?” I asked in hushed tones. She took my stupid comment with all seriousness and said, “just watch. you’ll learn and know by the end of tonight how much to mix and how to tell when it’s done.”
Indeed we each had an opportunity to process, whip, beat, combine, and pipe the little bites of deliciousness. “Who here feels like they can go home and make this on their own??” she asked, scanning the class with her bright blue eyes. i slowly raised my hand half way up…then set it back down. Hey, i may FEEL like i can do it but let’s keep in mind that I also feel like i can finish a triathlon in a month. clearly sock smoking runs rampant in my life.
There’s no better way to test myself on my macarons baking ability than to just do it….
Ok. back. Just did TWO batches and…well, disaster. Last time I checked, macarons should not spread…all. over. the. place. stay tuned. I gave up tonight but i have not given up the battle. GRRRRR.