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Christmas afternoon tea

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My Macaron secrets

flamingo-and-roseMacarons are my signature, but since moving house and building a new kitchen I had had some major fails!  Macarons are notoriously difficult – when I first started making them in 2011 i remember going through about a dozen eggs before i got a batch that was edible.  Now my fails recently were down to forgetting some of my tricks, so I thought i would share my exact method and tricks for all of those who want to try these.

My recipe:

3 egg whites (or 93grams of liquid egg white)

85 gms Ground Almonds

150gms Icing Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

colouring

Firstly, one of the most important factors of success is the egg white.  They must be aged.  This means you separate them from the yolk and leave covered in a dish for 24-48 hours.  cover in clingfilm and leave a little hole in the clingfilm.

I sometimes use liquid eggwhites, when using these, it is important that they are room temperature.  aging them for 24hours still helps. but if not then the alternative is 10secs in the microwave.

Secondly, oven temperature is a major factor.  I set my oven at 140degrees on Bake (i have a range oven and bake is the two lines (top & bottom elements).  I bake for 7minutes at 140 then reduce to 110degrees for 7minutes.  You must watch them carefully.  They must be in the middle of the oven.

Thirdly, you must double tray.  This is either two trays one on top of the other, or use a silicon matt on top of your oven tray.  ALWAYS use baking paper.

Fourth Trick: Once piped, bang them hard on the bench, this gets rid of air bubbles.

Fifth trick. Drying the tops.  If you do not get a skin within an hour of piping they are unlikely to work.  The skin forming depends upon the ambient temperature of the room.  I find if there is humidity they don’t try.  My trick (not energy friendly) is to place them under a halogen light or lamp.  the heat of the halogen helps them form a skin in good time.  If it takes too long to form a skin then you don’t get a ‘foot’ on them as they dry too much and then the top cracks.  Don’t be tempted to put them in the oven when they are not dry as they will just crack.

So you have my tricks, here is the recipe basics:

1. Put your sugar and almonds in the food processer and blend until fine.  i leave it on about 3 minutes on high.  Then pass through a seive.

2. Beat your egg whites to stiff, then add sugar, half at a time.  Beat until very firm.

3. Add colouring.  Gel is best as liquid colour can affect the egg consistency.

4. Mix in your almond and sugar mix. Half at a time, with a rubber spatula.  Fold it in, when the first half is folded in add the second half.

5. Macronage time: Beat/fold/press into the bowl, 10-12 times.  when it is flowing like lava (i can’t believe i said that as the books annoyed me when they say that, but it is the best description, then it is ready for your piping bag.  flowing like lava test – when you dribble it into the bowl the dribble marks will dissolve and flatten within a few seconds.  (so when you pipe your circles the peaks on top will soften down to a flat top).

6. Pipe onto your trays, bang on the surface and leave to dry.

7. bake once dry – but remember to test the baking temperature and duration.

Good Luck!

(Macrons are naturally gluten free so a fab treat for anyone!)

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Next Pop up party in February!

Pop Up Afternoon Tea – retox February 2012

Alice’s Tea Garden is hosting a special Afternoon Tea of indulgence, to reward and revive those who have undertaken the January detox, and to just indulge for those who didn’t! Book your place through the Ms Marmite’s SupperClub Website or email kristie@alicesteagarden.co.uk