So I went all fancy with my second macaron attempt and truly set myself up for a fall. As a rule, I seem to have (relative) beginner’s luck with new recipes, then fail miserably the second time before finally getting into the groove gradually on subsequent attempts. With any luck my next batch of macarons will be a marked improvement.
Having said all that, they tasted really nice! I think the sad thing about macarons is that in the early days of working out how to make them, you’re so focused on getting them to look right and how they taste is almost a secondary matter. Sure enough, you can’t really serve a round of deformed macarons to people in the hope that they’ll overlook the flaws and enjoy the flavour, but I would be most proud to serve these just based on taste. Anyway, the second batch taught me a good number of lessons which I’ll be mindful of the next time.
I had a couple of lovely blood oranges sitting on my fruit tray which I decided to candy in the oven. I saved a small portion of the orange to get some zest for the macarons. I once again followed the Gourmet Traveller recipe but chose not to process the almond meal with the icing sugar this time given a lot of other macaron recipes don’t call for this to be done. I did dutifully sift the mixture three times though.
I added about half a teaspoon of the orange zest and one crushed cardamom pod into the meringue mixture along with a dash of red and yellow food colouring to get an obvious orange tint going. In my impatience, I dumped the entire meringue mixture into the almond mix instead of adding the latter gradually to the former. I panicked a bit and ended up being a bit too heavy handed with the folding. I think I lost the magic at this point but nevertheless, I stuffed some of the mixture into my piping bag. Sadly, once I saw some of the mix dripping through, I knew this wasn’t to be my best work.
The little circles didn’t spread too badly on the tray once piped but unlike my first batch, they certainly didn’t have the same level of hold. I blame this on my being a bit arbitrary with the egg white and ending up with a slightly wetter mix. I let the macarons sit unbaked for about 2 hours this time but I think given how wet the mix was, no amount of drying would have got a nice firm foot happening on these babies. In the end, this batch ended up a bit flat and with tiny feet. The centre was also too moist as opposed to chewy, again owing to the mix being too wet. Undeterred, I went on and made up some dark ganache in which I mixed some chopped up candied blood orange and assembled the macarons that looked the most salvageable.
I have to say that the macarons had a gorgeous taste with just enough zest to know you’re eating an orange macaron. Cardamom as ever is the orange’s BFF though I probably could have added less. The dark ganache with spikes of sweet and sour candied blood oranges in it helped to balance the spiciness at any rate so all in all, a great combo!