Wednesday, 21 May 2014

macaron masterclass at l'atelier des chefs, london.


last weekend i donned my best floral dress, travelled down to sunny london and excitedly headed over to l'atelier de chefs cookery school by st pauls. for i was to become a master of macarons! or at least, that was the hope. with a fantastic line up of macaron flavours to make, we couldn't wait to get the sieves out, baking trays lined and mixers on to create the colourful treats.



macaron masterclass menu


lime zest and fresh ginger buttercream 
pistachio creme patissiere with blueberries
salted butter caramel 
rhubarb and custard creme patissiere



now you can see why grace and i were excited! these seemed like such different flavours with lots of skills to learn in making each one. we begun by making the macaron shells so they would have time to bake and cool within the two hour class. no "here's one i made earlier" for us.


the french style macaron recipe is made up of finely ground almonds and icing sugar, very slowly added to whipped egg whites. we learnt lots of tips such as older egg whites work better and you should sieve your ground almonds and discard any lumps. 


we then divided the mixture and added powdered colour - something i'd not seen before. if you were doing all your macarons the same colour you could have added this earlier. 


with a very tight piping bag, carefully pipe the macarons onto the tray and ensure precision with your eye as close to the nozzle as possible. (as modelled by the lovely grace). 

by the way, the macaron mixture you may have noticed underneath the baking paper is actually a way of gluing them securely to the tray. clever hey? 


also our chef and teacher dan didn't take kindly to anyone not piping properly - there was lot of constructive criticism flying around which although made me want to cry at my awful piping skills actually meant i ended up with some alright results. they then needed to dry out before baking to prevent cracking.


whilst they baked, we got on with making the fillings. starting with buttery salted caramel, we moved onto creme pat with pistachio paste and then creme pat infused with a vanilla pod and rhubarb jam to create a rhubarb and custard sweet style flavour. we then made a lime and ginger buttercream with zesty fresh ingredients. as there was only four in the class, we all got a go at melting, whipping, egg separating, grating and stirring, as you do on a sunny saturday morning. 


now it was time to fill. using the same technique as the piping, we piped the mix onto the shells before using a slow twist action to spread out the filling.



whilst i was in charge of salted caramel, grace put together the pistachio and blueberry flavour. the salted caramel had added maldon sea salt added afterward for extra crunch whilst the pistachio ones had a little fresh blueberry treat inside.


et voila!


i think my favourite flavour was naturally the salted caramel, closely followed by the refreshing lime and ginger. i loved the idea of the rhubarb and custard flavour with the flecks of vanilla in the creamy filling, although i'm not actually keen on the sweets myself so these weren't a winner. 

lastly i loved "taste testing" the pistachio filling, although the blueberry then overtook the flavour. i think if i made them i'd do a plain pistachio filling and then save the cute fruit filling idea for a blueberry flavour macaron.  

what do you think to the flavours?



overall it was a fantastic and comprehensive class which allowed us to make absolutely every element of our macarons from start to finish. made even better by no weighing or washing up, of course. now feeling lots more confident in the patisserie department, i really can't wait to try these at home. so watch this space!

find out more about the brilliantly creative cookery classes over atelierdeschefs.co.uk 

l'atelier des chefs st paul's.
10 foster lane, 
london,
ec2V 6hr.

l'atelier des chefs oxford circus.
19 wigmore street,
london,
w1U 1ph.


note: i was invited to a complimentary cookery class for purposes of review. all opinions are honest and my own.

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