From the Patasserie with Love: The Perfect Macaron
Macarons are a speciality of the Hotel Concorde Berlin’s patesserie.
Macarons are a French confectionery that consists of two egg white meringue based almond cookies with a flavored filling in between them. The macaron can be identified by it’s smooth domed surface and ruffled edges that are adorably called feet.
The patesserie makes hundreds of these a week in a variety of color and flavors, all in a habit forming bit-size. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Marie, the pastry chef, learning how to perfect these delectable little treats.
Here are a few tips I picked up:
- In the world of macarons, texture is just as important as taste. Accuracy is key to the texture and balance of the macaron, everything is measured out on a digital kitchen scale.
- The finished macaron cookie should have a smooth domed surface, therefore a smooth batter is paramount. Almonds must be finely grounded. Additionally, combined dry ingredients are processed through a sieve to remove larger particles.
- The eggs whites should be aged and at room temperature. One to three day old eggs whites help achieve the perfect meringue which lends to a crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside almond cookie base.
- To better control the distribution of heat and ensure the cookie bases are not burned, the cookies are baked on two layered baking sheets. The top baking sheet is then lined with parchment paper.
- To achieve a uniform shape and size the pastry chefs use a piping bag with a rounded tip. Once the batter is on the baking sheet, the sheets is banged on the work surface to remove excess air bubbles. Air bubbles are a big “no-no”, they increase the chance of the cookie cracking during the baking process.
- After piping and tapping, if there are any imperfections in the batter they can be smooth out with a wet finger
- Before putting the macarons in the oven, the batter is dried for 30 minutes. Drying out the cookie will make sure the surface of the cookie is crispy and also help form the distinctive foot that macaron is known for.
That afternoon, once our macarons were assembled I had to exert extreme restraint to not eat all of them! Macarons are best eaten after they have settled a bit, allowing the flavors of the cookie and filling to blend together. I was able to indulge in these gorgeous treats after dinner that evening. They were not only beautiful to look at but absolutely delicious. The contrast of the crisp outer shell and the chewy cookie, coupled with smooth filling made my taste buds super happy.
Be sure to sample these attractive and delicious cookies the next time you are the Hotel Concorde Berlin.