Tuesday, October 27, 2009
French Macaron - Daring Bakers October
Dear Claudia Fleming,
We've been together for a few years now. I've enjoyed your book, The Last Course, a lot during our time together. Your chocolate caramel tarts, with their final flourish of sea salt, have ended a few of my dinner parties. Lavender lemon pound cake, page 150, got me over my fear of floral notes in baked goods. I created a fig and cornmeal cake recipe that was inspired by your fig cornmeal tart. In totality, before this month's Daring Baker's challenge, I was in awe of The Last Course. Every recipe I made from it sparkled, and seemed to trigger excess inspiration. Thanks for that. It's a lovely book.
I've tried to make this work. After attempting your original macaroon (your spelling, not mine) recipe twice to ill effect, I made a slight alteration by increasing the amount of granulated sugar and left the piped unbaked macaroons to sit outside the oven for an hour before baking according to your directions. The feet on those suckers were so encouraging, but the cracked tops meant there was more work to do. My fourth batch kept the new higher sugar level and counter-drying time, but added a few more strokes of the macronage and a slightly lower end baking temperature. No cracking that time, but no feet either.
As I struggled to get those elusive little feet, the mark of a true macaron, I devoured countless chewy almond cookies. Those were tasty little failures, and I wouldn't change them for anything. But Claudia, life's too short to waste good vanilla beans. I adore your idea for putting real vanilla seeds right into the macronage. The flavor is sensational and those dark speckles would be downright dramatic against the smooth creamy color of a well baked plain macaron. I'll keep that tip, but I'm abandoning the rest of the recipe. It's not you - it's me. My macaron-loving heart belongs to Tartlette. Her basic recipe is foolproof, and she makes me feel like a better baker. I hope you'll understand. I'll always be fond of your book, and we'll still stay friends, right?
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe. Thanks for the Great Challenge!