Helen explained her trepidation about giving a demonstration like this outside of the controlled conditions of her commercial kitchen. Even the tiniest variation can mean disaster, from an increase in humidity (which needs to be less than 60%, especially while the macarons are resting) to too much baking paper overhanging the oven tray (which must be placed exactly in the middle of the oven). We learned that Helen likes to use 'old' eggs (ones that are almost at their best before date) as fresh eggs are more liquidy when heated and that certain brands are better than others. Gosh!
"Everything is precise," we were told as she executed every move with ease. Hmm. Now, it's no secret that I don't have the patience for things like accounting, but it sounds like the precision required for baking macarons could come a close second.
I picked up some valuable tips to add to my piping skills, such as swirling small circles to avoid air bubbles. Helen also showed us a really simple trick for filling piping bags (something I grapple with): open the bag over a jug and pour the mixture in from the top. I'll definitely give this a try.
I don't know if I'm brave enough to try baking macarons for myself but will need to be prepared to practise, practise and practise again. Still, I suspect it will be a long time before mine turn out like Helen's.
|Sky & Helene's Macarons gift pack|