Recipe origins: Claudia Fleming's The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy TavernHostess: Ami. S of Baking Without Fear
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.
Hosting a Daring Bakers' challenge is not an easy thing. Trust me, I know.
There's a wide range of abilities, experience and attitudes. From those who've never stepped foot into a kitchen (I could comment, but I won't) to those who probably own a professional kitchen. From those who try and keep to DB origins and follow a recipe exactly as written (unless there are financial, ethical or health reasons that force otherwise) to those who think of themselves as the sparkliest snowflakes of all, believing rules do not apply to them and will present a chocolate sponge as a completed challenge when the host called for a lemon meringue. metric vs Imperial, weights vs. volumes...it can be quite the tempest in a teapot.
Whenever I've come across a recipe I wasn't sure of I've done my best with it and have tried to post an accurate account of my adventures. Sometimes they are straightforward and produce fantastically tasty treats, sometimes as convoluted as Suicide Squid's origin story that sometimes produce the same fantastically tasty treats...but sometimes not so tasty treats.
When the results are good, they are very good. When they aren't, well, I try not to be unduly spiteful...quite honestly, I don't know how succesful I am at the not being unduly spiteful part.
So when it came to this month's DB challenge...well, I wasn't sure what to expect. Partly because I didn't know if I was making macarons...or macaroons. The write-up said "macaroon" but as the accompanying photos didn't look like the coconutty mini-mountains, and looked like a cross between 19thC nightcaps and happy little jellyfish, I assumed they were macarons.
Semantics, yes...but it's important.
Anyway...I've never made either before. I've eaten macaroons. I've never eaten a macaron.
I'm going on blind faith that whatever this recipe produces is a macaron.
The batter came together well enough, I suppose. I was a little concerned after the first third of the whites were incorporated as it just seemed too crumbly. By the final third, it looked good.
Which was probably the last time it actually looked good.
The first baking seemed okay...they were round and poofy, but rather lacklustre.
By the time the oven came to temp for the second baking the round, poofy lacklustryness collapsted into themselves...they kind of looked like a beanbag chair that lost the essence of being a chair.
When I took them out of the oven...they looked...rumpled. Like punching bags that had been punched one time too many.
Not all of them turned out--and that is, I think a fault of Beelzebub--of the 20 blobs (I scaled the recipe down to 40 per cent), 10 had charred bottoms: a hazard of using a stove possessed by the spirit of a lazy food-hating daemon who'd rather see me reliant upon big-box processed microwavable fud than...well...bake.
I will say of those that survived the baking process, most of them had the little feet or jellyfish skirt that I've seen in photos. For that I'm rather tickled.
So that left me 10 blobs, enough for five sandwich cookies. Given there's only one of me, five cookies are absolutely fine. Part of the challenge was to fill them and quite honestly, I wasn't very imaginative and reached for the last of the raspberry jam. Almonds, raspberries--very Bakewell Tart-like.
What did I think? Well, I'm not sure if they came out as they should. I'm also not entirely sure of the texture. I thought they'd be light and crisp not light-ish and chewy.
I've read a few Tweets by more experienced bakers than I voicing concern over the recipe, so maybe they're a better judge of this recipe than I.
But I do know I want to try my hand at macaron-making, but perhaps with a different recipe.
Click here for a list of participating Daring Bakers.
I'm a quill for hire!