I’ve had a go at making macarons on a number of occasions but they’ve never been a rip-roaring success. Dibs on the other hand is a master. She makes them as stress relief for goodness sake – that most pernickety patisserie as a form of relaxation! After commenting on one of her instagram photos she was kind enough to invite me to her home to make a batch (the whole reason I went to London in the first place) and whilst fabric shopping is always great fun, the baking was the best part of the day!
First we made a white chocolate ganache to sandwich the macarons together as it needed to cool before we could use it. This Craftsy Blog post has some good ratios in it. It’s simply melting chocolate into hot cream and stirring (vigorously – I wasn’t vigorous enough so we needed a bain-marie) until you have something smooth and glossy. You then place cling film over the surface so that it can’t form a skin or crust as it cools. Then it was time for the macarons!
Dibs uses an Italian Meringue method to make hers which involves making a sugar syrup that is then added to the whipped egg whites. This makes for a more stable meringue and therefore more reliable results. There’s a description of the different methods here and I’ve found a similar recipe to the one Dibs used (from Piere Herme’s book) on The Baker Chic blog. We also discussed why it’s so important NOT to use liquid food colouring (throws the moisture content off) and the demise of her favourite glass she used for filling the piping bags. We also discussed CBeebies (Our weapon of choice in distracting Noah) and Claire educated me in how to pack my shopping trolley more effectively!
We all had a go at piping the meringue – Dibs is a ninja, me and Claire not so much! It was great fun trying though even if, once you’ve carefully made all those circles, you end up being quite violent with the trays to ‘knock any air bubbles out’ by dropping them onto the table several times! Once they’d been left to form a skin they went into the oven for just under quarter of an hour – apparently this isn’t an exact science with a domestic oven!
As you can see though, she got some phenomenal results and once they’d been paired up (mine and Claire’s attempts at piping had made their sizes somewhat irregular!) we sandwiched them together. We used two flavours – lemon and caramel. We piped a small dot of the lemon or caramel in the middle and then a circle of the white chocolate ganache around the outside before sandwiching the pairs together. Once again, Dibs skills in this area outstripped mine and Claire was doing an awesome job of supervising us and looking after Noah. Then there was time to quickly pack some in a box for me and Claire to take home before making a run for the train!
All bar three made the journey home where they managed to make it until Sunday (Dibs told me that they taste better the next day and it’s true!) and My Dad, Husband and friends who popped in all gave them a massive thumbs up. The lemon combo was the favourite!
Thank you so much for inviting me into your home Dibs, Noah and Mr Dibs. I had a wonderful time and have been shopping for the ingredients to have another go at home. Boy has chosen purple as the colouring for ours (and yes, it’s a gel colour!). I’m just waiting for the disposable piping bags and some appropriately sized piping nozzles to arrive and then I’ll be having a go at macarooning solo!