On Sunday 11th January, I went to a Macaron Class. The class was held by Kate Emmett who owns Cake Poppins, at her beautiful home in Jesmond. Kate specialises in making amazing cakes and runs various cake decorating and baking classes throughout the year.
I enrolled on the class as I had previously made macarons with not much success and was determined to get it right.
Only 3 people attend the class at a time and once we were all ready with a brew, Kate explained that we would be making macarons using the Italian meringue recipe as opposed to the French recipe (which was the one I had previously used). The difference between the two is that the Italian recipe calls for a hot sugar syrup to be made which is added to the meringue. (See my recipe page for the recipes from this class).
We were to make chocolate macarons and flavoured macarons (the flavour comes from the filling rather than the macaron itself).
We started by making the meringue paste – the icing sugar was mixed with the ground almonds and then the unbeaten egg whites added. (This is when either cocoa is added to make chocolate macarons or other flavourings are added). Then the meringue mixture was made. The egg whites were whisked until they formed soft peaks. A sugar syrup was made by boiling the water and sugar in a pan to 114 degrees C without stirring it. When this was ready it was poured gently into the meringue mixture which was then whisked again until the bowl they were in cooled down. Using a spatula, we then folded 1/3 of meringue mixture into the paste mixture and then slowly added the rest.
The mixture was added to a large piping bag and using a plain round nozzle, the mixture was piped onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. There were circle templates under the parchment paper to follow to unable us to have uniformed size macarons.
When the macarons had all been piped out, the trays were tapped on the counter top to get rid of any airs bubbles and help the macarons settle. The trays of macarons were then left to “rest” at room temperature to form a thin skin which prevents them from cracking as much whilst they are being baked. While the chocolate macarons were resting, we made the coloured macarons in the same way.
When all the macarons had been rested, they were baked for 14 minutes. When they came out of the oven the parchment paper was slid straight onto the cold counter top – this ensures they will come cleanly off the paper.
We then experimented with different fillings for the macarons. This is where the taste of the macaron is more apparent. I decided to make the following fillings: chocolate peanut butter, plain chocolate buttercream, lemon curd cream and pistachio flavour cream.
The macarons were sandwiched together. To the chocolate macarons, I drizzled melted chocolate over the top and to the pink macarons, I added some pink shimmer dust.
My chocolate macarons cracked ever so slightly, but Kate reassured me that chocolate ones are more likely to crack – its thought perhaps the cocoa makes this happen. However, with the cream filling and chocolate drizzles they tasted divine.
My pink macarons baked perfectly and they even had the little “feet” I’d struggled to get on previous tries. Again, once filled and decorated these were amazing.
I had the most fantastic afternoon. Kate was the best host and teacher, the other two ladies in the class were lovely and I had a great time. I would definitely recommend Kate and her classes. The class lasted for 2 1/2 hours and the £30 fee for the class was very much worth it and an investment in my baking!