Perfect Macaroons was the name of the cooking class I attended at the oh-so-swish Waitrose cookery school last night. And it was awesome! They gave us a special apron to wear and I felt a bit like I was something between a contestant on the Great British Bake Off and a celebrity chef. We all worked in pairs at a little workstation following the, frankly numerous, instructions, and I was partnered with an older lady named Daphne.
Daphne was lovely and it was a bit like having a temporary grandma; she let me do all the steps as she said she struggled to hear the instructions and found stirring quite an effort. However, this didn't prevent her from bustling around our little kitchen area, following me and clearing up after me, doing the washing up and wiping down the benches. All totally unnecessary as the helpful Waitrose fairies made all the washing up disappear and new things appeared and this seemed to happen by magic without you really noticing.
Obviously after 20 minutes, I was wearing more of the icing sugar than the meringue was. And that's Italian meringue for those of you wondering. However, Daphne and I concocted a perfectly respectable mixture, dyed it green and piped our macaroons.
We were told that, whatever you do, once you've piped one of the delicate little meringue shells, don't go back and add to at as it will crack in the oven. I went back and added to mine willy-nilly as some of them weren't very circular but were somewhere in between irregular polygon and dinosaur shaped. And they didn't crack. Haha! Perhaps because mine weren't quite as delicate and petite and perfectly matched as some of the more successful students. Still, a sprinkling of pistachios made them look pretty. Interesting macaroon fact-of-the-day: pistachios are too oily to go into the meringue mixture and will affect the texture, so you should only pop them on top for pistachio macaroons.
While they were in the oven, we knocked together a very yummy raspberry buttercream with a custard base and then whipped out the meringue and played match-the-macaroon halves. Obviously I'd made an odd number so I ate the least appetising looking one.
It turned out to be a reasonably forgiving process; each half matched with another near enough and once stuck together with the rapberry filling, they were quite a pretty pastel green and pink combo. I made 13 and a half - if you count the half I'd eaten - and I quickly wolfed down a couple to check they were OK.
Normally I would have said I'm not that wild about macaroons, but mine were extremely yummy! Vain, yes, but true! The raspberry buttercream had a real tartness to it and was wonderful with the almondy pistachioness of the macaroons. Sluuurrrp!
That left me with 11, which wouldn't all fit in the box, so I ate another one thoughtfully and managed to fit ten in. But they looked a bit silly, so I ate another and managed to arrange the nine remaining macaroons in a nice square shape. I shut them up for the night and signed the box. Definitely a celebrity chef now.
So there it is. Macaroons: Assorted Perfection.
P.S. I though I'd write this now so that when I come to scrap it, I've already sorted my journalling and pictures!
P.P.S. I fed the rest of the macaroons to the maths department this morning, They did not last beyond 9:15am. I think this is a positive sign.