07 October 2007

Macarons & Biscotti Class

Finally attended Joycelyn's Macarons & Biscotti Class at Shermay's Cooking School! Have been looking forward to the demo class for 2 months now, couldn't wait to see how this precious French pastry which got the French and Japanese into a buying frenzy is made.
The craze is catching up in Singapore; apparently Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie is having a Macaron Festival this month; avid baker Evan of Bossacafez has delightful concoctions of Macarons with multifarious flavours and colour for ordering through her blog.
In this demo class, Joycelyn showed us the master recipe for creating macarons using the Italian meringue method, with 4 variations in flavour. Macaron fillings include classic buttercream and ganache. She also gave us some very useful tips on how to achieve successful macarons. Basically, the 4 combinations are:
  • Chocolate Macarons filled with Valrhona Araguani 72% Dark Chocolate Ganache
  • Hazelnut Macarons filled with Valrhona Jivara Lactée 40% Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • Vanilla Macarons filled with Vanilla Buttercream (made via classic French buttercream method using pâte à bombe)
  • Coffee Macarons filled w/Coffee Buttercream

Once the basic steps are mastered, we could create any flavours we want.

On top of that, Biscotti which is essentially crisp Italian cookies containing nuts and sometimes dried fruits are included in the recipe pack.

Joycelyn started with the Biscotti which is easy peasy as compared to the Macaron. The flavour shown is Hazelnut & Cinnamon; the entire class filled with wonderful aroma of cinnamon and nuts. Although the loaf didn't look impressive, the Biscotti slices looked perfectly classy after cutting; and tasted most flavourful.

Macaron batter forming 'skins'.

As we progressed to the Macaron, it came to realisation that the baking process required lots of patience and each macaron is painstakingly and meticulously created. No wonder the cost is relatively higher and few have mastered the art of creating perfect Macarons.
Perfect Macarons with smooth domes and frilly bottom edge known fondly as 'feet'
- measure of success

It's amazing how simple ingredients when combined with precision could developed into something so exquisite; it's almost a Science. Well, not rocket science but certainly food science.

These classic Macarons were delicately crunchy on the outside, and moist, chewy, and flavourful on the inside - truly precious gems created by the chef's labour of love.

Each participant went home happy with 4 Macarons of different flavours and 2 slices of Biscotti, packed elegantly with a 'chinese' takeaway box - true blue Joycelyn impeccable style. We were also served home-made eggnog (it was really good!), Illy Coffee and Vanilla Sencha (Gryphon Artisan Tea), compliments of Shermay.

I'm certainly very inspired to try the recipes, but terribly hesitant. I shall start with the Biscotti to get a morale boaster first :)


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