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?

Best,

Beth

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!

9 comments:

Tracy @ Sugarcrafter said...

Hehe, love your post. I couldn't get the recipe to work for me either, so I feel better now! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Nice feet Beth! I've also enjoyed the batches which didn't work out.

glamah16 said...

LOL!The bad batches did taste good. Perhaps frezzing them and putting them in ice cream. Im glad you found success eventually.

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Very funny!

I struggled with this macaron recipe, too. I think everyone did! I actually did tweak a few things because from my experience it didn't seem too accurate and was a little vague in parts - e.g. 5 egg whites (what weight?). Back to my Italian version next time.

peasepudding said...

The last batch turn out fabulous and well done you for not giving up!

Cathy/ShowFoodChef said...

Beth, thanx for your comments on mine, it gave me a chance to discover your blog, too. Love your humor and writing and your final success is gorgeous! Agree about that recipe, needed tweaks all over the place, huh?

Sue Sparks said...

Well, your macarons look gorgeous!!! I will have to try Tartlette's recipe since her name has been mentioned many times!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Love your letter!! :D Tartelette's recipe worked best for me as well. Poor Claudia; I'm sure her book is amazing (in fact, I sort of want a copy now!)

Lisa said...

Beth..I LOVE your letter to Claudia! I think your letter speaks for all of us in this challenge! Hence why many moved onto Tartelette's recipe. That said, your macs look gorgeous and yummy, but as you said, you shouldn't have to waste good vamilla bean on a recipe that isn't working..over and over. You nailed it finally, but next time you know where to go :) Hey, at least the aesthtetically imperfect ones tasted good!