Want to learn how to make French Macarons? Tricks from M.O.F.s ! Finally, learn how to bake this cookie !

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Comment by Mario Kaiser on November 26, 2012 at 4:01pm

nice, I like the video a lot easy to understand and at least a lot of fun

Comment by Kathryn Gordon on February 22, 2012 at 10:06pm

Heide, every single recipe I've seen has different baking advise/temperature/times...  There is just no agreement on this cookie.  If there was, the MOF's would all have one procedure.  At any rate, re the Italian meringue temperatures...  For a macaron, I find cooking the syrup a bit on the low side of the Italian meringue temperature range is ok because it bakes in the oven.  If I raise it, the meringue can be "too strong," and it's hard for people to fold enough of the air out of the batter for the macarons to bake w/o internal air pockets.  For any non-baked Italian meringue (buttercream base, for example) I would cook the syrup much higher, like to 248F, these days with the CDC's temperature advisories for killing salmonella and avian bird flue, to try to pasteurize the meringue at 165F.  

Re the macarons, I would try everything:  1, 2 or 3 sheetpans at every temperature range from 275F up to what you're trying, 400F...  All iterations exist.

Comment by Heide S Thompson on February 22, 2012 at 9:18pm

I phrased that incorrectly. I heat the oven to 200c, turn off the heat and put the macarons in the oven to dry but I find the residual heat too strong. Is it because it is a gas oven I wondered. Then I removed a test tray and found they had partially cooked and some had cracked. So I put them in the lower oven without preheating, just relying on the oven's residual warmth, and then removed them when they were dry and baked them at 140c. When I bake at 350f or 175c, they seem to rise beautifully but then the shells are thin or brown before they are wiggle free( I was taught to try and move the top gently to test for doneness...). So today I will try again at home. By the way, I am very confused by the directions of two rather fmous chefs stating they should be baked at 180c, for 20 minutes, the other said 25 minutes> They were rocks when I did it.

Again, thank you for your time. One further point, in your book for Italian meringue ,you state 116c and take off the heat, but others state 120C. What is your reasoning for 116c? When making traditional Italian meringue for tarts ,I was taught to remove it at 104c.

Comment by Heide S Thompson on February 19, 2012 at 2:07am

So, 200f, my 100 c, turn off the oven and put sheet in, letting dry, with oven door closed. crust forms, turn up heat with them still in the same oven. In July, I test ran three methods following them to the tee, taking into account longer drying periods for a sub tropical climate, and a gas deck oven. By October, I was certain it was my lack of skill that made them inconsistent from one sheet to the next, so went back to the drawing board. Now I will start again. I need to get to the point where I can troubleshoot with confidence, knowing the method I use will deliver consistent results, as I have done for other desserts and petits four. Thank you. back to the experimental stage.

Comment by Kathryn Gordon on February 18, 2012 at 9:41pm

No.  Do not bake at 140 until the feet form.  In "my method," which  is from La Duchesse Anne Patisserie in Saumur, Chef Christian Godineau -- there is no baking at all in the drying period.  None.  The batter is completely, dripping, raw.  If feet form then -- your oven is running too hot.  Put it on a lower setting.  I'm not recommending it for everyone, but I can touch the sheetpan when it's at 200F...  After the crust forms in the dry oven, you turn up the heat to the baking temperature and let them rise, form the feet, cook...  

If you still lose color, 2/3 into the baking time (6 minutes into the 9 minutes at 350F, prop the deck door open with a wooden spoon.

I would follow any chef's method 1000% but NEVER mix and match the methods, while you're trying one.  

Comment by Heide S Thompson on February 18, 2012 at 8:59pm

Yes i saw it in your book. 100 % oven drying cracked mine-I keep wondering why it works so well for Zumbo and Herme kitchens. 100 % open air drying has taken as long as two hours with the dehumidfyer on in the kitchen so I will try half and half as you recommend. No convection at work though,just the deck oven so far baking at 140 on the top till feet form and 140 on bottom works, then I drop the temp on the top but I still lose colour by the time they dry. Will try all the tricks you have suggested.

Comment by Kathryn Gordon on February 18, 2012 at 5:28am

If you're drying at room temperature, you're not following the best trick I ever came across.  I've looked at, or cooked about 70 different chef's recipes.  Half dry in the oven, half at room temperature.  The oven ones say the air always contains enough moisture, it can sabotage the tops thru cracking.  The ones who dry at room temp are all over the place, anything from 15 minutes to crust to 2 days at room temperature!  If you form the crust in the lowest temperature setting in the oven -- should make everybody happy.  No cooking occurs.  Takes 10 minutes in convection, max and 15 regular ovens.  So try that method, which is what I recommend in the book.

Comment by Heide S Thompson on February 17, 2012 at 10:44pm

I will do both,t ake photos and different methods and get back to you. I often worry it is my method. I lack confidence which is bizarre because I actually studied macarons in Paris for three days and felt really confident. Right now I have influenza so I cannot go to work. When I get back to the kitchen I will upload my more recent attempts.

As to oven trays, at first I tried two but read about moisture buildup so lowered it to one. They are full sheet pans so next I am trying less on a sheet, and letting the drying time last longer. I know I have several factors going  against me, a wet hot climate, a gas deck oven but others here manage so I must just keep trying. And I really appreciate your advice!

Comment by Kathryn Gordon on February 17, 2012 at 6:59am

Another approach you can try is pipe while preheating to 425.  Put in shells.  Leave door cracked open (maybe 3") and turn off heat.  Check in about 10-12 minutes...  Kind of energy wasting, but works for some. 

Cracks can be many things but since you can bake them fine in some ovens, let's assume your meringue making methods and  your folding times are ok, so the variable is the baking.  I still need to know how many sheetpans you're trying.  A photo of the type of "cracks" would also be helpful, please send to kathrynlmg@yahoo.com because there are a few different types of cracks I think are caused by different factors. 

And remember, the batter is fine (covered) in a piping bag for an hour (or more), so only test a few on a sheetpan at a time while you're in oven-experimentation-mode...

 

Comment by Heide S Thompson on February 17, 2012 at 1:51am

ps the two ovens i mention are in my home, sorry for the confusion. I should edit myself.

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