December’s Challenge: Macaron Madness

Thank you for all the love for my first blog post! I have got to admit I was pretty nervous about posting it on Facebook, but I’m super pumped about the response it received, so thank you 🙂

For this month’s challenge I have decided to bake macarons! :O I did quite a bit of research on the macaron and from what I have read; they are less intimidating to bake as I have come to think…a suivre. My love for these French heavenly treats goes back a few years. It is so deep that my baby bro brought me back some from the motherland when he visited some years ago and they did not disappoint.

The internet has informed me that Montreal has stepped up their macaron game and is slowly making their way to the top. With my fine Google skills, it didn’t take me long to choose Boutique Point G as my inspiration for this month’s challenge! The pastry chef responsible for this beauty is Julien Reignier. He hails from the land-o-macaron and has perfected his craft under the master himself Pierre Hermé (not to be confused with the famous French luxury fashion company Hermès…as the hubs excitedly thought).

Boutique Point G is located in Mount Royal. The hubs and I had plans to hit up the Montreal Etsy sale nearby (much to his pleasure) so it was a perfect excuse to go downtown. He didn’t mind the shopping as much with the promise of delicious macarons afterwards.

Macarons and an Etsy sale is a pretty hipster way to spend the day, we were just missing some fair trade coffee and an organic scarf knitted off the back of a New Zealand sheep to round out the full hipster experience. *Note we did pick up some craft beer for a friend’s Christmas present. We did have to get going early since this is downtown Montreal we are talking about, which isn’t a good time these days with all the lovely construction and demolition going on.

The shop is small and very bright! Macarons for dayzzz. They have so many flavours (including foie gras!) that it was hard to choose. In the end we walked away with a box of 12: dark chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, chocolate caramel, coconut, crème brulée, chai latte, lemon, cherry, exotic (passion fruit & mango), orange mandarin & hazelnut. We had a few faves including exotic, vanilla (sounds boring but actually amazing) & crème brulée. These macarons are delicious and I can’t wait to go back and try the other flavours!

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(For those not wanting to travel downtown, they do sell them in assorted boxes at Provigo! I haven’t tried them so I don’t know how they compare.)

So the big question is which flavour am I going to replicate? Well folks, I couldn’t decide (shocker!) so I went with vanilla and exotic! That’s a tall order for a first time macaroner…as mentioned I did ton of research on how not to screw up a macaron and read all the tips and tricks out there.

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(Piping these bad boys out is another skill level I need to improve on. If in doubt trace circles on your parchment paper!)

Unfortunately this did not save me from cracking the tops of the first dozen in the oven. I did however figure out my mistake: I did not let them rest long enough to dry them out…the first recipe I used said this step was not necessary…it is very necessary so don’t skip it! Another step you mustn’t skip is the banging to the trays to get rid of any air bubbles in the meringue, a step the dog could have lived without.  The recipe can be found here:http://kokocooks.com/2015/08/vanilla-bean-macarons-2/ . Note I wasn’t a huge fan; the meringue dough was a little too liquidy.

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Overall I am very happy with how they turned out! My passion fruit-mango macarons definitely turned out a lot better than the vanilla bean ones. I credit Jamie Oliver and his brilliance for my success. Follow the link for the recipe http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/macarons/, I omitted the raspberry essence and added in orange food colouring instead of pink, however not nearly enough. For the passion fruit-mango custard I used the following recipe: http://www.gourmetetgourmand.com/macarons-mangue-passion-recette-de-mango-passion-curd/

I have to admit, even though my macarons (more specifically the passion fruit-mango) turned out great, I would have to say this replication challenge was a failure by my standards. But if we’re talking Master Chef Style, with three judges deciding my future, I’m not going home. Although they didn’t look the way I wanted them to, they were “yummy A F” says the hubs.  The vanilla bean macarons were a little flat, while the passion fruit-mango ones were lacking the vibrant orange colour. I was too scared to add in more food colouring as the internet warned not to add too much moisture to the meringue dough.

Thanks for reading! Now to figure out what to bake for January!

 

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