Attempts #2 and #3 are in. As you can see, I think I'm discovering some hot spots in my oven! That will be interesting to deal with. The second attempt was going much better and the were developing feet, but as soon as I took them out of the oven, they collapsed. A quick troubleshooting search revealed the culprit - I was baking them on my usual 350F, instead of the recommended 285F. Whoops!
Another mistake I caught (right in the middle), was my failure to see the difference between 118F and 118C... When I was heating up my sugar syrup in the previous two times, I only did it to 118F. You know, not really a big deal - only missed out on more than double the temperature! Oh well, at least I realized that before adding the syrup to the egg whites
Speaking of egg whites, I realized there's no need for aging them. I find the process of aging + straining whites to be quite laziness inducing and demotivating, so when I heard you can just microwave them for 20sec to mimic the aging effect, I went for it. One thing worth mentioning is that the 20sec has to be done in pulses. Otherwise, you might end up with fully cooked egg whites.
Funny story (or not) - for my second attempt, I waited 5 days to age the whites. By the time I deemed them as fully aged and decided to make macarons (which happened to be at midnight), I looked at the eggs and noticed something funny. There were barely any left. The entire thing has evaporated. I was left with merely 2 egg whites. Thankfully, I had some extra eggs in the fridge and rushed to the microwave to age them. I think you can guess the rest of that story. I used up all of my remaining eggs, turned all of them into a solid white mass, and had to send the mister to the store at midnight.
But, after all of those adventures - we have arrived:
I was jumping all over the kitchen when I saw these beautiful feet! I'm pretty happy with the end result, and I think now I will just work on the technique.
Things to improve:
Need I say more?
Oh yes, I do - because the second batch (that was baking at the same time as the one one) got completely burnt. Like, the fire alarm went on kind of burnt.
Well, I can't say I wasn't expecting it. This was my first time (ever!) making french macarons, and thankfully, I am a little bit wiser now - and know complicated recipes don't work out on the first trial. Instead, I just wanted to get a feel for the process, and that objective was definitely achieved.
I used a recipe by a chef I usually trust, but he did not mention sifting the ground almonds, and recommended against aging the egg whites. That with the combination of a slight over mixing resulted in the pink pool of meringue I was left with.
Alas, I carry on. I put on a batch of egg whites to age, spread out the almond meal to dry, and have been practicing my mixing motion. On the bright side, piping was a lot of fun, and the the entire thing went faster than expected.
I can't wait to try again!
Hello again! Jury date is coming up, and I'm anxious to finalize my recipes. Things are looking pretty good for my pink cakes, I had another trial run today with some changes:
But on the bright side, the sponge is spongy!
Today I set out to improve the my Tottenham Cake recipe. I had several changes I wanted to experiment with:
The hysterical results of experiment #4 are presented to you below. I mean, seriously. Just look at it. Really look at it. Isn't it just priceless?
That definitely didn't work out. I also need to use even less batter, because this time I really whipped up the eggs well and the entire thing rose like a soufflé.
But, at least things are looking good on the flavour front. I think next time I will use both vanilla and the super-secret-amazing extract, but I'm definitely getting there.
The addition of cream was also interesting! It resulted in this light soufflé texture, with almost a custardy feel. I will have to experiment with different cream/milk proportions to see what works best, but I think it's definitely a good idea to be adding cream - it will help keep the cakes nice and moist during transport.
Today, after many bureaucratic hurdles, I've finally submitted the payment for the general liability insurance and in that, concluded all of the business-side 'To Dos' of the application process. To be honest, it wasn't that bad looking back - but it seemed overwhelming in the beginning. Opening a corporation? banking stuff? insurance? Where do they teach you any of that? (Hint: they don't).
Now, it's time to concentrate on perfecting my recipes for the Jury Date - only 3 weeks to go!
Baking 24/7 does not make me a fault-less baker. Quite the opposite: the more recipes I attempt, the more recipes I fail at, and eventually - the more I learn.
Enjoy this record of broken sauces, wasted eggs, and record setting sugar usage.