Here in the busy city of Toronto, and specifically in the Hospitality world, we are awaiting the boom better known as; the Toronto International Film Festival. This ‘festival’ of sorts brings hundreds of thousands (nearly half a million to be exact) of industry professionals to our lovely city, just after Labour Day in mid-September. ‘TIFF’ as we call it, lasts just about two weeks, and keeps us hotel minions busy as all hell for it’s duration. This is the time to ‘make hay’, or so I’ve heard. This particular TIFF in 2013 will be my very first one, though I’ve been hearing about it for years. Being from British Columbia originally, our company out West used to send staff here to Toronto to help our Flagship hotel survive the gruelling task of functioning at absolute full capacity, with some of the most high profile guests one could ever expect to attend to. I suppose it can’t be all that bad, right? Even if it means two weeks of sleepless nights? We shall see, I’ll have to keep you posted on that one.
These days in the pastry shop, until the big boom of TIFF is upon us… we’re preeeeetty quiet. Summer is here, and the majority of folks in Ontario are doing all they can to escape the sticky that is downtown TO’s smog-cloud at this time of year. Off they run to their lake houses that Ontario’s so famous for, leaving us with little to do on the job. For now. So what to do with yourself in order to keep busy during the lulls? Why… bake your way to the dentist’s chair, of course! (If you have decent dental coverage, that is).
The macarons pictured above were created today in the shop by Moi. I can’t lie however; I was supposed to make these peppermint flavoured and I completely forgot the extract. So they’re just regular ol’ green macarons. Whoops! Don’t make the same mistake I did, they don’t taste all that great!
*Special equipment needed for this project: stand mixer, food processor, candy thermometer (kitchen section at department store or hardware store will carry this, not expensive), silicon baking mat, piping bag with straight edge piping tip, & sieve/flour sifter, convection-option oven preferred, set to 275 degrees F.
75 grams ground almonds (aka almond flour or meal)
75 grams icing sugar
30 grams egg whites, at room temperature
27 grams egg whites, at room temperature (in additional to above, keep separate)
7 grams granulated sugar
75 grams granulated sugar (in addition to above, keep separate)
25 grams water
flavouring and colouring of your choice, but powdered flavourings and colourings are preferred!
Place ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and process until powder can be passed through a sieve/flour sifter. In a mixing bowl; stir dry ingredients together with the first measurement of eggs whites and colorant, to make a colorful paste. Set aside.
The next step requires you to monitor two activities at once- place your second measurement of egg whites in the stand mixer with whisk attachment, set the 7 grams of sugar beside. Place your third measurement of sugar and the water in a pot, stir slightly, and turn on to medium heat. At the same time you place this sugar syrup on the stove and heat; also turn on your stand mixer to medium speed and start to whisk to soft peaks, while slowly adding the 7 grams of granulated sugar.
At this time be sure your candy thermometer is on hand, and cook the sugar syrup to 118-120 degrees C, at which point your egg whites should also be at soft peaks. Remove your syrup from the heat right away, allow to sit aside for one to two mins (or until mixture has stopped bubbling furiously), and then turn your stand mixer to high speed while slowly adding the hot syrup in a slow steady stream. Try not to get syrup on the whisk itself, as this causes the sugar to fly in all directions causing 1) A giant bloody mess, 2) Nice little burns on your forearms, and 3) stops the measured amount of sugar from getting into the macaron mix, and you need that dang sugar in there!
Once the syrup is added to the whipping whites, allow to whisk on medium speed for 5 mins until mixture isn’t too hot, but still about room temperature. Stir this sticky meringue fluff into your previous mixture of almonds, sugar, and egg whites. Stir repeatedly for about 5 mins until the mixture is fully blended, and until small spoonfuls of goop slowly spread into flat little pancakes when left to rest for a couple of mins.
Using your piping bag and tip, pipe the mix onto silicon baking mats, trying to be as exact in sizing as you can! Remember, you have to sandwich the little suckers together afterwards, so try to at least have them uniform, will ya?! (The Chef would slap you upside the head at this point). Now leave the little macaron pancakes to rest for about 20-30 mins (depending on the humidity of your home). You want to rest the little pancakes until you can touch your finger lightly to the top of them without any mixture sticking to your fingers. As soon as you can touch the macaron without them sticking to your skin, they’re ready to bake!
In a convection oven preheated to 275 degrees F, bake at 4 mins on low fan, rotate tray, and bake another 3-4 mins. At this point; open the oven door and bake an additional 1-2 mins to be on the safe side. You want to be able to grab the top of the macaron gently, wiggling it back and forth horizontally, and feel that it’s somewhat stiff against the tray. If it wobbles quite freely; it needs another minute or two of baking! Don’t get discouraged, these things take practice and are very finicky! Then again, even if they do come out of your oven looking like stinking little terds… rest assured- they’ll still taste delicious!
Now… allow macaron to cool, remove from tray, and sandwich with your favourite ganache or buttercream!
And – Enjoy. You know those TIFF celebrities will, and theirs will be perfection. A real sight for sore eyes 😉
HAPPY TRIPS TO THE DENTIST!
For any additional questions on this recipe, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you shortly!