By Monique Y. Wells
Last Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a macaron class at Cook’n With Class – a cooking school in Paris’ 18th arrondissement.
I won this class when I attended the school’s 10th anniversary party last month.
Chef Sarah Tyler taught four other attendees – Nadine, Krystian, Sara, and Paola – and me how to make four varieties of this popular French dessert: rose, caramel beurre salée, pistachio, and fig.
In case you didn’t know, all macaron shells (the “cookie” part of the macaron) taste the same. What gives macarons their flavor is the filling. Macaron makers add coloring to the shells to help you anticipate the flavor of the filling!
As Chef Sarah instructed us on making both elements, she shared some surprising facts about macarons.
For example, did you know that the egg whites that go into the meringue should sit in the refrigerator for about a week before being used?
And that most macarons you buy in pastry shops, including the highest caliber ones, have been frozen?
Here are some photos that demonstrate a few of the steps required to make these scrumptious confections:
Making the macaron shells
One of the most important things to remember here is that MOISTURE IS THE ENEMY. You must be conscious of any additional liquid you may introduce, purposefully or inadvertently, because it can compromise the quality of your final product.
To make the pistachio shells look more appealing, we sprinkled them with crushed pistachios.
Making the fillings
We made a fig jam, a salted butter caramel, and two ganaches from white chocolate to fill our macarons. We learned that ganaches need to set so that they become firm enough to pipe and that you should add their flavorings in small increments to avoid making them too strong.
Assembling the macarons
We decorated the caramel macaron shells with edible glitter and the rose macaron shells with a brush of red food coloring.
Chef Sarah explained that you must massage the bottom of each macaron to release it from the parchment paper. If you skip this step and try to lift the shells from the paper, you risk leaving much of the center attached to the paper.
Then you place the shells on a rack and match them for size.
After piping the filling onto a shell, you make the macaron “sandwich” by gently twisting the second shell onto the filling.
This three-hour class was one of the most interesting and fun cooking adventures I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend it!
Cook’n With Class
6 Rue Baudelique
Telephone: (0)1 42 57 22 84