To quote “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “WOO!”
Not long after my last post I did a trail at Marc Forgione’s American Cut that immediately turned into a job. I did my first two shifts as a pastry cook last week and could not be happier. It’s still a bit insane to me to compare my current situation with where I was a year ago as I weighed the decision to leave a great job for this career. So to the ICC and chefs that have taught me so much and prepared me so well I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Despite the extra shot of crazy I just injected into my life I couldn’t stay off the blog for too long. This is a simple recipe and I know it uses techniques I’ve already demonstrated, for that I apologize. Just think of it as a warm-up for the coming weeks.
- Stand mixer with whisk
- Instant read or candy thermometer
- Silicone baking mat or parchment paper
- Chinois (fine mesh strainer)
Vanilla Macaron Cookies (589g)
- 150g almond flour
- 150g confectioners sugar (10x or sifted)
- 120g egg whites, divided 80g/40g
- pinch of cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 167g sugar
Combine the almond flour and confectioners sugar in a food processor and pulse until fine. Transfer to a large bowl.
Wet the sugar in a small saucepan until it resembles wet sand. Heat to a boil, once boiling begin whipping 80g of egg whites with the tartar and salt. When the sugar hits 240F and the eggs are foamy stream the syrup into the bowl. Continue to whip at medium-high to stiff peaks. In the meantime combine 40g of egg whites with the dry mixture to form a thick and slightly sandy paste.
Fold a small amount of meringue into the paste to lighten it then gently fold the rest in. Continue to fold the batter until it falls in a slow “stubborn” (by this I mean at times it won’t fall) ribbon from the spatula and develops a glossy surface when not disturbed.
Pipe rounds in the desired size on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bang the pan on the counter to even out the rounds. Place them in a drafty area and let them sit until a filmy crust develops. Preheat the oven to 325F.
Bake the macarons for 10-14 minutes until barely golden around the bottom edge. Cool them in the pan completely.
Spiced Orange Ganache
- 85g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 35g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 55g unsalted butter, small cubes
- 125g heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp orange zest
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp Cointreau
Combine the chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl.
Bring the cream, zest, and spices to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Return to a boil and strain through a chinois over the chocolate, let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the Cointreau.
Gently stir with a small rubber spatula from the center until the mixture begins to emulsify then continue to stir until it is completely combined. Cool the mixture at room temperature until firm (like pudding).
Make a macaron sandwich, taste said sandwich. If it tastes good, keep it up. If it doesn’t, use more or less ganache. Got it? Good.
I have a mental thing I’ve picked up since starting school. It’s weird, but pastry chefs are weird. I’m weird. If you can’t see that by now then you aren’t very observant. Each day before beginning my work I repeat in my head one of my favorite movie lines, “Gentlemen, what are your intentions?”, said by Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. If I can’t answer it with a clear idea then I know I need to rethink my day until I can.
At this moment it is my intention to continue to write as often as possible while working. Service is hard. Long hours, hot kitchen, no chairs. I do get to eat the ice cream though, so I still feel like I’m coming out ahead. I have no idea what this will do to the content of this blog since I’m basically losing a night of production for weekend projects.
As much as I had to learn how to do this (fairly) well back in June I find myself having to learn it all over again. I’m excited to find the balance and to also relate things I learn as a professional. I hope you stick around.