Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Magical Macarons

My first shock, regarding these desserts, was the spelling. I always thought it had a double O, like carTOON, bufFOON, but I guess I was wrong. In fact, macaroons, according to Wikipedia, are different from Macarons, just like a CarTON is different from a CarTOON. However, I think by and large, no one really cares, and in fact, even the advertisement in the Cooking House said Macaroon. Heck, even Laduree, the Mecca of Macaroons, spells them with a double "O", in their website. (Incidentally, the Laduree ones look terribly oorgasmic)

I only ever recall eating the ones from Lemon Garden, Shangrila, and they were horrible. Enough to give you diabetes from one nibble, and completely unsubtle taste.

As I've always been very curious to know HOW these little biscuits are piped to such perfection and such circular shapes, I was thrilled to see the Cooking House feature this class, by a French lady no less. I apparently cajoled Ciki, into coming with me, as we both had RM100 vouchers from Cooking House to be utilised. And, the class was on a WEEKDAY!!! Yay. I love weekday classes. Just tell the office, I'm going for a course.

The instructress, Chef Nathalie Arberfeuille, has an aura of Chefdom about her. You straightaway feel you are in the correct hands. It's kinda like going for boxing lessons with Muhammad Ali, as opposed to going for singing lessons with Mawi. It helps, with that sexay French accent....it sends shiversss up my spine....

Everytime I go to the Cooking House, I feel very at home. To my surprise, the class was packed. (aiya, these people all no need to work one ah). Fortunately, I was not the only rose amongst the thorns, as there was another chappie there attending as well. (But he professional chef).

First, we were briefed about the sensitivities of the project. Apparently these are very sensitive, precise biscuits, with very low tolerance for mistakes, or inaccuracy, temperature, etc. When she says 118C, its 118C, not 121, or 115....make no mistake. 75gms of egg white is SEVENTY FIVE GRAMS, don't try to be a smart alec and allow 78gm. Phwah.....sounds like some people I know..

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She looks a bit like Julie Andrews hor! I felt like I was in the Sound of Music. Minus the music. And annoying small children. And nuns.

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Check out Ciki...she looks like she's racing with the other girl to see who can Mac-simize their Macs...pump it Ciki Pump It...yeah....actually, I meant Pipe it...

This fella here is the raison d'etre for Ciki's presence at the class. (by her own admission) Debonair and youthful chef Ryan Khang.

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It really is a miracle of physics, I reckon, how the batter just spreads evenly to form perfect circles.

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And look at those baked biscuits...amazing how there seem to be two distinct layers.

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Dang, previously not a fan, just looking at these while I'm writing is making me hungry. Who'd have thought.

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Hey, the ganache filling is valrhona chocolate okay. I reckon, it would taste good any which way!!!
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Part of the process was to find each biscuit a matching mate. It was almost like a mass Korean cult wedding. Pairs of macs waiting to be tied together in holy matrimony.


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I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.

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I am now a macaronian. A convert, to the macaron religion. The ethereal light melt in the mouth biscuit, albeit a bit sweet, is complemented by the dark valrhona ganache. Divine.

However, not all macs are created equal. One of my classmates told me that this was not the first macaroon class she was attending coz she wasn't satisfied with the previous ones. Wow, talk about commitment. Even she was impressed with Nathalie's product.

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We also had coconut and pistachio macaroons, but we missed the assembly line, coz Ciki, Ryan and I snuck out for lunch...which is another story altogether.

These babies taste better after a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. That's what the Chef told us, and the Chef was correct.

Now, to find a recipe that needs lots of yolks, so I can use the whites for my first attempt!!!!




62 comments:

Precious Pea said...

I know of a recipe that need lots of yolks...Indonesian layer cake! So when when when are you going to bake some macaroons for us to try??

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

They're such pretty little things...your photographs are bootiful, tangechi. Like you, I've always thought the spelling was macaroons, and I'm also not a fan after a couple of bad tasting ones. I think I need convincing pronto.

Yin said...

Wah, FBB you're on a roll. So many blog posts in just 2 days. Yin likey :)

And I also thought that it was spelt with a double o. So you mean it's spelt with one o but pronounced as two?

Your pix of the macarons soooo sooooo soooo cantik wan! And Ciki oso as hawt as ever.

*worship worship*

:D

ToyBoy & ToyGirl said...

Wah, the shots are amazing. Good angles. Actually I also thought it was double "o". Well not too late.

Julian Si said...

Super photography, and a really amusing write-up .. You DA man, bro!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

im waiting for ur batch! if u seriously need egg whites, i think i can afford the egss...not to worry

Easily Amused Lemongrass said...

love Joe's comment. :-D What the heck, I'll throw in a coupla dozens too.

Eunice said...

I have to question you - are you SURE macarons are the gift of the gods? Because I made them and couldn't get anyone to eat em! It vas laik itting shuger!

Your thoughts?

(but mebbe I havent tried the best eh)

babe_kl said...

FBB arhhh where to fill up form to be your test bunny????

burpandslurp said...

these are some crazy pictures. They are so perfect, like professional! macarons are perfect models for total food porn, too.
I think I would like the pistachio macaron more.
the teacher...she looks so serious. Like training FBI...

Lianne said...

you can make Kaya! kekeke .. anyway, i think ALL the frenchies can macaron lah coz I tasted the one from supermarket (cheap stuff) and its damn good too!

Life for Beginners said...

Where do I sign up to be the first to try your first macarons out? :D

thenomadGourmand said...

ehh ur also a chef wat..(on ur comment on the otr chappie)
so macaron will be nx up as one of ur FBB fattening fav? ;p
yeahh..me find macaron and pav a tard too sweet..wonder if its possible to reduce sugar?

J2Kfm said...

so raved about, yet I've not tasted one. wondering how the texture. crumbly? soft?

mh said...

Make creme brulee, egg custard tarts.....uses loads of egg yolk!!!

Bangsar-bAbE said...

I also want to be your test bunny!! And I'll sponsor eggs too! =D

CUMI & CIKI said...

isn't that how u do it in real life too.. look for the perfect fit.. the 'other' matching semi-sphere, then jump on it... and never let it go! The Macaron can teach us a thing or two bout life eh.. gotta luvit ..:P

Diary of Kay El said...

Wow!!! I am impressed with the class just by looking at your photos. Your photos just get better (except those from project-not-so-lonely post - haha!)
Do announce when you offer macarons for sale... you could be as popular as Laduree or Pierre Herme ;o)

jencooks said...

Chessboard during macarons lessons, interesting.

Nic (KHKL) said...

wahhh, like a love story liddat...start as halves, then with some cream or anything else that stichs (like lurve, commmitment, etc etc) in between, they became a perfect pair...awwwww...

wonderful write-up, fbb! just like them macs! imacs! ;D

fatboybakes said...

hairy, actually, it all started from the egg sum more! so lifelike hor. and yeah, pump in the cream, and they become one....

jencooks, yup, there goes the mystery of the uniform rounds.

diary of kl, pierre who??? hahah, thanks. aiya, the mission impossible post, was from point and shoot, and i accidentally reduced file size to "poor quality".

ciki, very cheem hor

fatboybakes said...

bangsar bunny, hahah, how apt, with easter round the corner...so many egg sponsors. gawd, now i'm getting stressed.

mh, oooh, i havent used my flaming blowtorch for a long time...creme brulee...hmmm..... that's an idea.

j2kfm, the texture changes over the days wor. straight out of oven, these were soft on inside, crisy on outside, overall gooey, ...after a few days in the fridge, it seems even better, coz all the flavours had been absorbed, like curry laidat...

TNG, according to the chef, cannnottttt have ANEEEEEE variation on the recipe...one grain less of sugar and the entire thing is liable to collapse... and since "ze ingrediens are veRy expanseev, eeet ees not a gewd ideeah to take ze reeesks".

LFB, haha, stress la....so many high expectations.

fatboybakes said...

lianne, GUFFFAW, that's like saying all malaysians can make kueh talam.

burp&slurp, welcome welcome, you look like new visitor. haha, no la, she was very friendly, the instructor. not FBI at all. told you mah, like maria from sound of music. actually, the pistachio one was even sweeter than choc, coz it uses a white choc base as the ...err...whatchewcallit? cohesive ingredient.

babe, aiya, i'm sure u can easily make them.... hahah. will pass you some when i save my egg whites.

eunice, ya ya, me too, i dont like them, or pavlovas either, coz i find them way too sweet. but as nathalie said, that's why you have to find a balancing ingredient for the filling.... put it this way la, it still isnt in my top 10 favourite desserts, but if they're this quality, i certainly wont complain.

thamby, when was the last time you went egg shopping? you'd be hard pressed to find a package of a dozen.

nipples, hahahahah i was WAITING for someone to say that. if you think about it, its penny wise pound foolish, coz even if you waste 10 yolks, the cost is about RM2. the way we waste cardboard boxes and boards etc...far worse...

fatboybakes said...

jules, aww, thanks bro for the kind words.

toycouple, i am still spelling them with two Os, since LADUREE does. and one MAHST follow the authority on the subject matter.

yin, is that a pun intended? i'm on a roll? (since i was blogging about bread)...well, yeah, i'm no loafer ya know...
ciki is hawt hor,...but so are you

thamby, looks like you've already been converted by your el buli chef...

precious pea, make sure you're not on one of your numerous bi-weekly holidays when i do make them!!! hahah.

Yin said...
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Yin said...

FBB - you're just too kind to me lah :) *hug hug non-loafer*

Yunno I actually had ONE macaron yesterday at a cocktail session and the first thing that came to my mind when the waitress brought the tray was F-B-B!!

Life for Beginners said...

@Yin: Yuppers! Now all we will think of when we see macarons is Eff-Bee-Bee! The power of Branding! :D

Eunice said...

(you don't like pavlovas?! they're your sell out! hahaha i missed out the chance to make em during CNY when I was stuck with 6 whites. not angmolangs but you know :D my gramma turned the into low cholesterol omelettes :/ this was before i found yr blog else I wouldve maybe donated them to you haha!) maybe can get a rm2 discount when i order :D

eh got diff quality ah macarons? the dark choc's bittersweetness may go wonderful. i tell you, stay away from buttercream! more sugar to itt. haha.

oh by the way, you game to try some top secret clone recipes? i get from topsecretrecipes.com wan :D chilli's molten choc cake, kenny roger's muffins..... would be awesome to get a foodie's thoughts since you can accurately compare & review food! esp to the selumptious quality of kenny roger's muffins. i'm not a very good reviewer, haven't eaten enough salt you see. :D

FBB said...

eunice, you so modest, not a good reviewer my foot! ...you are a PRO la...but yes, i would love to try those recipes...i love kenny rogers muffins too. you know what recipe i'd sell my ... err.... great great grandmother's soul for? A&W waffles!!! come come, lets try.

as for the pavs, yeah, well, you can blame awhiffoflemongrass for dragging me into that game.

LFB, shush... u want to kill me ah.
no la, i dun think macs are my thing. too dainty, and too elegant. i'm a lai soi lou...(concrete mixer)

yin, i heard from thamby those macaroons at your function were sublime huh.

Eunice said...

haha i have no reason to not be modest i has nothing to boast about! i am merely a baker who's almost burnt down the house. (quite an accomplishment i kno!)

ok i'll email u the recipe!

...a&w waffles!!! how could you bring this tender subject up? waffles are my weakness. eh must try again la! did u foam-erise your egg whites? to me right, i think that their waffle is more whites than yolks cos its colour is so pale! i also think the wofflemekker has something to do with it. nonetheless i think i'll test my theory on the whites & stuff! or maybe stand next to the a&w waffle maker to see the batter's consistency!

FBB said...

ah, great minds...i DID whisk my whites separately in one experiment, and i ALSO believe its the wofflemaker that makes the diff, cos theirs is very DEEP hor, unlike the home ones, which is shallower than desperate housewives...

i even tried adding some rice flour to make it crispy on the outside... obviously i havent succeedded...

Life for Beginners said...

@FBB: Now why would I want to kill one of the best bakers in town? Your fans would run me down in their BMWs and 4WDs faster than you can spell m-a-c-a-r-o-n. (Especially now that we discover there's one 'O' less...)

@Eunice: Cool beans, top secret recipes? I love K.Rogers' muffins (if nothing else there).. will go seek. Thanks!

Yin said...

FBB - yesh, it was divinely submlime. or sublimely divine. anyway you read it lah, sublime :)

I'm sure yours would be too!!

Sze said...

laduree = little pops of heaven! can you get it in KL? it's about 18 euros for 12 in paris - yikes.

Henry Yeo said...

Yay!!!! more things to order from FBB!!!!
Quick, Get out the online catalogue PDQ!!!
Dial the number ASAP!!!
Before the lines get J-A-M!!!

The Duo Dishes said...

They are oh so perfect little macarons. The chocolate and coconut would be great right now...

fatboybakes said...

duo dishes, heh heh, yup...they sure would be great. even i'm longing for some.

henry yeo, hahah, dont think these will be on my repertoire.

sze, no we cant get ladurees here... sadly. but wow, at 1.50 euro per pop...hmmm, i'm sure i WOULD buy them.

yin, errr, i not so sure leh. my piping skills usually leave a lot to be desired.

LFB, i have fans in BMWs??? who ah?

Life for Beginners said...

Some datins and divas? If not, at least my Datin and my Diva... though, I think those two drive Myvi's... :P

jelly said...

ooh this thing is called Macarons? i never knew its name. had it a couple of times but have yet to taste a good one :( like u said, all the others out there gave me diabetes. grrrr.

ladyironchef said...

the macarons look so nice! and i know its never easy baking macarons. can i have that tray? hahaha

fatboybakes said...

ladyironchef, haha, dont we ALL want that tray. i wonder when i make them, if they'll be half as nice...probably look like mutants.

jelly, and so they are...called macarons.

LFB, myvi's are good. one datin without blinking an eyelid once told me her kancil was her "kereta pasar"... when she collected her cakes...

Fen said...

Wow, that is a nice entry of making macarons... Often I only see the end-product... Nice to see how people have their fun in baking classes... Maybe I should sign up for one too...

FBB said...

fen, yeah, baking classes are a hoot, if you get the right crowd and right instructor. i've been for several pretty uninspiring bake classes....and there are those that make you want to embrace the whole thing as a full time profession...

Life for Beginners said...

Cheh wah, kereta pasar... My kereta glamour is also my kereta pasar wor.... How leh? :(

thule a.k.a leo said...

ever think of putting the Macarons in our FBB menu?? I could use those when I organise party or something

fatboybakes said...

hahha, thule, i havent even tried making them yet... dunno whether can jadi or not.

LFB, good wat, that's whats called an MPV la. multi purpose vehicle, from the pasar to the F1 glamour party, both oso can...

Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy said...

MAKE NOW YITSELF! I wantttt tooo...Mine didn't come out! Love the skirt around the macarrrrons! ;-)

But have a good buttercream you might wanna try! ;-)

gfad said...

You can always start making sugee fruitcakes that uses 25-30 egg yolks. I'm sure the cakes would taste absolutely divine after 9 months of maceration in brandy/whisky/rum...

I too am intrigued by these macarons. Apparently it was quite the rage with some sporean floggers while ago. Everyone was trying to get the 'frilly legs' right!! I tried some in kl before but was not too impressed. I will ask around some french ladies here to see if there are any good ones around.

Just saw a recipe for Vanilla Macarons with Choc Nutella Ganache. 120g egg whites is how many ah? 3? That's not too bad - can easily find something that uses 3 egg yolks!

GFAD said...

BTW, which tip did they use when piping out the macaron ah? A plain one? Or can we get away with just cutting off the tip of a disposable piping bag?

fbb said...

GFAD, 120gm is about 3-4 eggs la, depending on the size of your eggs. i not really a sugi fan ...even a plain sugi cake uses like 10 yolks. she just used a plain nozzle, which yeah, ...you can just circumcize your piping bag i guess.

nigel, HOWWWW la, if you the master make and tak jadi, apa lagi I???

Eunice said...

FBB - LOL I missed this - shallower than Desperate Housewives? *(lady-like) guffaws* Cannot tahan....

Life For Beginners, mmm hmm! Awesome, you want to try too? C'mon! Have you the recipe yet? Yeah love the TSR site, they used to give their recipe of the week free until the next week so I have a whole bunch of copied recipes that're now locked up. Cool eh? If you want any just holler. I just have to find my old harddrives..nowadays I just email myself everything haha!

FAD MOM said...

i didn't get to see the pictures cos it says your photobucket acct had exceeded the bandwidth...sob

i was a fan and I tried to make a macaroon and my first try was such a disaster... here. http://www.fadaboutfood.com/2009/03/sweat-if-out-for-macaroons.html

after that, i've tried one more time but i think i need even more practise before i can make a consistently decent one...

oh and your blog's great.

Simon Seow said...

Wow, your photo bucket exceeded bandwidth.

Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy said...

How's this one for eye watering? Saw this on one of the Astro channels. US$7,500 for one macaroon. I speak English, gonna spell them with double 'o.' Anyways, Pierre Herme has a shop which is like a haute coutoure house. And he sells the macaroon ALONG with the recipe.

fatboybakes said...

nigel, what was in the blardy macaroon? that's three words u used in a sentence that i cant pronounce...herme, haute, coutoure...aiyo. and u say u spik the english?

simon seow, till today, i dunno what that means. they reset the bandwidth to zero after awhile.

FAD mom, i've linked you...love your blog too, and cant wait to try making baked currypuffs, and that kueh lapis....

eunice, how could you miss that!!! aisehman. have yet to find cornmeal, and have yet to find time to waffle...

FAD MOM said...

fatboybakes, tks for the link up..i'll do the same too. can't get enough of that lovely macaroons snaps! gosh.. such a far cry from my horrible UFOs... i really want those now!

rokh said...

and to think i always smugly thought macaroon and macaron each to both type WRONGLY! *shy

Argus Lou said...

Haha, so funny. You always make me smile, FBB. Like you, I'd never been a fan of macaroni (wrong spelling still, ah?) until I had a Luxemburgeli from that shockingly expensive Sprungli chocolate shop here in CH. Wah, so nice... ya, but a bit sweet lah. You make me wanna try to make these, like my ex-classmate, MyFoodSafari - remember her?

Elaine said...

Yeah I totally went through the macaroon/macaron confusion stage too.

Also 'macaron' is hella difficult to pronounce in French. Sounds like you're clearing your throat -- hard to associate with such a gorgeous, aesthetically-pleasing treat.

There's a reason why this post is so popular... *smacks lips*

Camemberu said...

Yum yum yum...looking up your old post on macarons, cos Keropokman just made some too. These look so gorgeous!

LOL@Korean mass cult wedding!

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Simonne said...

Do u remember the size of the macaron you show above? They looks cute..