Saturday, 22 May 2010

Apricot mascarpone macarons

I must confess I was never really into macarons, even when it got really popular with home bakers as well as commercial outlets in recent years. It could be due to the lack of really good macarons here in Asia - no Ladureé or Pierre Hermé outlets here in Hong Kong as far as I'm aware. To be honest, I'm not quite sure why macarons never really caught my interest. That changed recently when I received a generous box of Confiserie Sprüngli's luxemburgerli last winter. There must have been 10 assorted flavors in that box, and it took me (together with Herr Scherrer) no more than a few days to gobble it all down...

When I started researching into macarons with the intention of trying to make some at home, I realized its must be one of the most blogged about baking topic - great for me as I had a lot of references available as well as tips from fellow bakers who generously share their trial and error stories. From what I could gather, its an extremely frustrating process for those brave enough to attempt it at home - plenty of issues including macarons not having feet, batter spreading too much resulting in completely flat macarons, macarons has little peaks that won't go away, to rest or not to rest batter before baking, how much folding is enough / not enough.... gosh the list seems never ending... yet, the idea that one could improvise any sort of flavors into those sandwich cookies is enticing for a home baker - its like having a blank canvas with endless possibilities and room for creativity - the catch is one needs to master the basics first.

After a long period of procrastination, one day I happen to have some egg whites left over in the fridge from working on something else. Almost all macaron recipes advocate the use of aged egg whites for best results... so guess what I did? Yes, make macarons!

I'm very thankful to all who have shared their own macaron making experience on the internet - I must have picked up quite a bit of tips from them as my first attempt was not a complete disaster like I thought it would be. My shells came out too soft as I followed the recipe exactly, forgetting that Hong Kong's humidity required it to be left longer in the oven. My second batch came out too hard after I over adjusted the baking time. I finally got the baking time right in my third attempt. Surprisingly, all my attempts had healthy looking feet. I think I still have to work on my piping skills to ensure I get consistent size rounds.

Photos posted here are those of my third attempt - green & orange macarons with apricot mascarpone filling. I'm definitely thinking of interesting flavors to attempt next.... watch this space!


  1. What's the technique/tips to create the "feet"? Wasn't successful in my last attempt.

  2. Do you mind sharing the recipe that you followed that led to a successful batch?

  3. Hi GH,

    From what I've gathered different bakers have different experience and opinions about exactly which procedure is critical to create those "feet". I personally think its a combination of folding of the batter just right (not under and not over) and letting the batter rest for at least 30 mins before baking (if you're using french meringue). Hope this helps!

    And I'm guessing I know you from CS.... right? =P

  4. Anonymous,
    I got my initial recipe from FCI's Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts, but modified it slightly after realizing the original recipe didn't quite work perfectly for me (might be my oven, or just high humidity here in HK...). Will find some time to type the recipe out and post it here for you. In the meantime if you get your hands on the book, the recipe is on page 459. Modifications I made were (1) Increasing confectioners' sugar to 30g (2) Baking at 138C for 25 mins. Good luck!

  5. Recipe posted here:

  6. Hi Gracie,
    I live in HK too.
    May I ask you some question about macaron?
    I visit your website, your macaron are success.
    Recently I try to baking macaron but all failed.
    I am using a 60 Liter convection oven. In the past, my macarons that the top are crack,raw, empty base,no foot. temperature from 110-170.
    today I bake a tray macaron 220 pre heat, and trun down to 180 when tray into oven, a wooden spoon insert the door. this is the pics, would you like tell me what is wrong? THX!

  7. Newnew2005, my guess just by looking at the pictures and considering the problems you raised is that you could have over-folded your batter and the baking temperature may be too high. I also use a convection oven and bake my macarons at 137 C (see for more details). I keep the oven door close throughout. Hope this helps!



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