The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
I was very excited about this challenge and had even mentioned to Jeremy that I really wanted to try making macarons. After being in France earlier in the year, and trying these up close and personal from Fachon, I was anxious to give them a shot. They are known to be somewhat difficult at times and after trying to make them, I totally get that.
The first set I made were flavoured with lime zest and that was it. I had some leftover coconut cream pudding and used that as the filler. They were unbelievably good. I loved them. I gobbled them up. Unfortunately I didn't have much of that, so I decided to make a white chocolate ganache infused with pina colada tea. I simmered the cream with a couple spoonfuls of the loose tea, then strained it and poured it over the chocolate. Although it was sort of a pink colour originally, once it was poured onto the white chocolate and mixed in, it became more of a purple colour. It tasted okay, but I think I might added a bit more tea than I should have because it was a strong floral type taste, and slightly stronger than I might have liked. And, although the macarons turned out okay, I wasn't as happy with them as I wanted to be. They had their "feet" but they seemed a little more hollow than I think is ideal.
The second set we made, we did half vanilla and half chocolate. We baked two trays at a time, and in the future, I think I would only do one tray at a time, because the chocolate ones, although they seemed to have feet and look good, upon removing from the oven, and sitting for a few minutes no longer looked as good as they originally had. The vanilla ones seemed to look worse so I baked them a lot longer and that seemed to help. They were very fragile. This time around, we filled them with coconut buttercream. We also had a little bit of chocolate truffle ganache and tried that as well. The coconut buttercream was good, but I liked the coconut cream pudding better (basically the same thing without the butter).
I'm so glad I got to make these although I found them a bit frustrating. Some of them stuck to the silpat and others broke really easy while still others seemed just fine. It was a great challenge and I look forward to making them again sometime and perhaps trying other flavours or other recipes just to see if I find something that let's me feel confident in what I am doing because at no time did I ever feel 100% confident with making these (of course was 100% confident eating them!!)