Very early on in my quest to bake the perfect macaron, I was frustrated and, somewhat bemused, by the fact that most recipes for macarons are for multiple egg whites – some advocating as many as six egg whites per batch. As I struggled to make a successful batch of macarons and to overcome all the challenges that these delightful sweet treats threw at me, the fact that I was wasting so many eggs, not to mention the vast quantities of sugar and ground almonds, really began to rile me.
I also found manipulating large quantities of macaron mixture quite difficult, especially at the macaronage stage. It’s a tricky process and the larger the volume the more arduous it becomes, in my experience. Into the bargain, a batch of six eggs makes about 60 macarons, that’s 120 shells to pipe and bake, 60 macarons to fill and to be honest, as delicious as they are, you would have to be entertaining a crowd to need 5 dozen in one sitting! Plus, half the fun of making macarons is to experiment with different colours and flavours. As, thus far, I haven’t found splitting batches prior to adding colour or flavour advisable, a successful 6 egg-batch would mean a large quantity of macarons of one colour. In my book, this really doesn’t have the same impact or sense of creative achievement as a plateful of varied, pretty colours.
It seems obvious now, but I battled with these large quantities for a while, until I remembered my six times table! Close to exasperation, I divided everything by 6 and although I would not claim that success was immediate, I have never looked back! Although I can, and do, scale up to quite large quantities these days, I still like nothing better than spending a quiet afternoon gently mixing and folding a series of one-egg-batches. Enticing my guests and customers with a mouth-watering selection of macarons, in an array of gorgeous colours and complimentary flavours is so very satisfying.
Are you struggling with getting to grips with macacronage? Take my advice – one egg at a time! Good luck!