My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
As I mentioned in my last post, this macsperiment can be summed up in one word: slide.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. My “new” KitchenAid got its first workout and took it like a champ.
There are two different kinds of meringue you can use to make macarons: Italian and French. So far I’ve been using recipes that all call for French meringue, although they may not say so explicitly. French meringue is just the process of beating egg whites while slowly adding sugar until they come to stiff peaks. I’ve seen it called “uncooked meringue” before in contrast to Italian meringue, which could be called “cooked meringue” due to the simple syrup that’s slowly added to beaten egg whites once the syrup reaches 244 degrees F/118 decrees C. Because you have to heat the syrup to a very precise temperature while your mixer is beating your egg whites, it is almost impossible to make Italian meringue with a hand mixer unless you have two people and let’s be honest, it doesn’t really sound like a super fun activity for two. So once I got my stand mixer, I knew the first thing I was going to make was Italian meringue. And what better recipe to try than Pierre Herme‘s?
What I wasn’t prepared for, and which I’m still not positive about, is how Italian meringue looks compared to French. I was beating and beating and beating my egg whites, waiting for them to get to a stiff peak, light-as-air stage like all of the egg whites I had used before, and they just weren’t getting there. They were light-ish, had soft peaks, and were very glossy, so I thought, “umm…maybe Italian meringue doesn’t get stiff?” so I stopped and made the macarons with the meringue I had. When life gives you (what is possibly though not certainly) Italian meringue, make macarons. Right?
Well…maybe not right. Because this is what I got:
Disregard those that look like erupting volcanoes; sometimes when you’re waiting for your macarons to dry before baking, your wonderful boyfriend does the dishes and because it’s been a while since the dishes have been done, runs out of space to put drying dishes and may be forced to put them on your counter, swinging dripping wet dishes over your macarons in the process.
Some did come out well, so I’ll pretend like they all did by just showing these completed pics (with strawberry buttercream! my favorite so far):
As for their texture, it was definitely different than the macarons I’ve made with French meringue. Chewier, maybe a bit denser. I had one after 2-days aging (the last one!) and it was almost the perfect texture…still a little too hard. So maybe a 3-day aging process is necessary for these. But I can definitely see why so many people/bakeries prefer to make them this way.
If anyone who’s made macarons with Italian meringue can tell me a little more about what it should look like/how long it usually takes/how fast you pour the syrup in, I’d be forever grateful! I think maybe that had something to do with their odd appearance. I also think I may have under-folded aaaaand I really think my oven/baking sheet are just not suited for this sort of thing. But I’m not going to complain! You’re given what you’re given, and I’m going to make it work!
Special thanks has to go to the boyfriend, who not only did the dishes, but also stayed up late to bake these suckers because I was down for the count. It was past my bedtime.