Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ready, steady, bake! Week 2

Last week on The Great British Bake Off it was biscuit week. Contestants spent the weekend whipping up arlettes, ginger bread, biscotti, macarons and sandwich biscuits. Having never made arlettes, and wanting to repeat only the recipes studied whilst at Le Cordon Bleu, I opted to repeat making pistachio macarons. 

Many weeks ago, when sat in front of chef watching him whip up hundreds with ease, the task seemed simple, easy even. Back in my own kitchen, with only my hand written notes for assistance and less than professional ingredients lined up, I was dubious as to how these patisserie delicacies would turn out. 

If you'd like to find out how I got on many weeks ago when making macarons under the watchful eye of Chef, have a little click here: Le Cordon Bleu Week 9 - Macarons they were pretty rad. This weeks...not so much. 

Now with macarons there are hundreds and hundreds of recipes floating around, every baker worth their weight in salt has one and they differ only slightly but those slight alterations can make a world of difference. Opting to follow the recipe provided by Le Cordon Bleu (foolishly perhaps as I could barely read my own handwriting), I first scanned my comments. Whilst studying I enjoyed making a side note, to remind myself if I liked or disliked the bake. On the macaron page sat two recipes, the first for French macarons and the second, Italian. My side note next to the French recipe read "approach with caution, crunchy and not at all delicious". Next to Italian "chewy pillows from heaven". 

Pillows from heaven won and so I went about making the Italian meringue base and sieving the ground almonds. This is where I felt that shop brought ingredients let me down. At Le Cordon Bleu, not to boast, but the ground almonds were so finely ground which resulted in a gloriously smooth macaron shell. My ground almond was not, it was corse and full of lumps. I'm sure you can imagine the consequence of using such an ingredient. 

Regardless, I powered through adding green food colouring (gel) to my stable Italian meringue base and gently folding in the dry ingredients. Lastly, before piping I levelled the mixture with a little additional whipped egg whites then I went for it. Once piped, I baked my shells for 20 minutes at 140 degrees during which time I made my creme au beurre, which was sweetened and flavoured with emerald green, Sicilian pistachio paste. 

After 20 minutes of baking, I was greeted by which can only be described at giant macaron shells. Clearly I'd gotten a little over excited whilst piping the mix that I forget that these sweet treats fall under the category of petit four...SMALL oven. Small. As soon as my giant shells were nice and cool, I sandwiched them with the butter cream and popped them in the fridge overnight for them to set and absorb the flavours. 

So here they corse and bumpy, giant but delicious, Sicilian pistachio macarons! Tah dah! 

They went down a STORM at work (I now work for Sauce Communications - these guys; They flew off the plate which is lovely but I really need to work on my piping and as soon as I track down finely ground almonds I'll be onto a winner. 

Next week on my path to patissiere it's bread week! Not my strongest area but I'm excited to get some practise in. I hope everyone is hungry! 

If I have time, I'll even give arlettes a go using Paul's recipe which you can find here:


1 comment:

  1. i think they look great!! i can never get italian meringue right, i blame the fact that i don't have free standing mixer. i know...i am making excuses but i can never get the meringue firm enough. :/