How many of you believe in the law of attraction?
I do completely and have done so way before ‘The Secret ” or any such book came about. It was a quiet sort of an understanding I developed while growing up where I believed that if I wished too hard, what I imagined may most definitely come true. As a child it meant, squeezing my eyes as tight as possible, stopping my breath for a bit ,focusing hard on the subject and wishing very, very hard. In that moment of focus I could clearly imagine it coming true and lo, behold it did!! (well, most of the times). When it didn’t I conveniently forgot about the wish and got on to wishing for something else. Somehow in my growing up I have left behind my innocent musing and wishing technique. I do not squeeze my eyes, don’t stop breathing and I don’t focus too hard anymore.
But when I got this email from Fabrice of Culina asking me if I would like to do a Macaroon class…I squeezed my eyes shut and stopped breathing. I didn’t have to focus very, very hard because my wish had already come true. If you have been following this blog you would know I have been obsessed with my bucket list lately. One item on the list filled me with great fear – Macaroons. Oftentimes I thought I have taken on way more than I can handle. But then Universe has its own sweet way to bring to you what you so fervently want. And the Universe knew I was scared of the task and I needed help which came in the form of Fabrice’s invite to attend his infinitely enjoyable Macaroon Masterclass.
The class was to be at the end of a work day. Despite that, none of the trials and tribulations at the work front could dim my excitement of attending the class. I arrived a bit late due to some insane traffic problems to find that the class was already in progress.
The Chef conducting the class was none other than Fabrice. With his infectious enthusiasm it was difficult to keep any reservations ( not that I had any) towards getting on with the task on hand.
All the attendees were given their own copies of Macaroon recipes and we were free to choose our equipment from the handsomely equipped kitchen at Culina. The pantry was stocked with all kinds of chocolates and other baking staples. I chose to make the Chocolate Mocha Macaroons and under the expert guidance of Fabrice, quickly made the chocolate ganache filling and kept it aside to cool. He told all the tips and tricks required to make any macaroon baking attempt a success.
Starting from the right way to measure ingredients, to mix the dry ingredients, the do’s and don’ts with respect to mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients – Fabrice told us all. To make the shell of the macaronage /shell of the macaroons, he gave us individual attention till we all got our macaroons in the oven.
Piping was another aspect of Macaroon making that filled me with dread. I don’t have the most delicate way of going about this exercise and am a master at making a mess… and a mess I made. But I piped, nevertheless. Tiny shells blossomed into shiny ones once they were baked. Once the shells cooled down, we piped the filling into the macaronage/shell marking the end of our endeavour.
In my write up, I may have made it sound easy but it is far from it. Macaroon is perhaps one of the most technical recipe I have ever tried. If I would have attempted making them on my own, I would have most certainly failed. Now, armed with the Culina experience, I can imagine attempting Macaroons at home.
As for the recipe, we attempted the Italian meringue recipe which makes amazing Macaroons. To see our Macaroons find their feet/crown was a culinary joy equal to no other. All the Masterclass participants ooh-ed and aah-ed over the end result. Ofcourse none of this would have been possible without Fabrice’s expertise and engaging teaching style.
The class lasted for 3.5 hours and it was a blast! I made some friends who are just as mad about baking as I am. Plus a certificate at the end of the course was like the cherry on the proverbial cake.
For all who are interested to try, the recipe is as follows:
Chocolate Mocha Macaroon
Ingredients for the filling
250 gms dark chocolate 53%
50 gms dark chocolate 70%
320 gms liquid cream
1 tsp Nescafe
60 gms butter, room temperature
Ingredients for the shell
Macaronage- Part 1
270 gms almond powder
300 gms icing sugar
100 gms egg whites
30 gms cocoa powder
8-10 drops of red food colour
110 gms egg whites
300 gms custard sugar
80 gms water
Prepare the filling first
- Boil the cream with Nescafe
- Pour on the two chocolates and mix well till the chocolate dissolves.
- Then add the butter and allow it to cool down before you can pipe it. We put it in a refrigerator for the time it took to make the macaronage.
Preparing the Shell
- Sift the almond powder and dry in the oven for 45 minutes at 100 C before use. This is to remove any moisture that might be trapped in the almond powder.
- Sift the icing sugar and the cocoa powder and mix together with the almond powder. It would be easier to do it with your hands. We were provided vinyl gloves to do this. Make sure all the three are thoroughly incorporated
- Add the egg whites (100 gms ) and the red food colouring in the almond mixture. Thorough mix it to form a slightly hard dough and keep it aside.
- Heat water and sugar in a sauce pan and use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
- Pour the remaining egg whites (110 gms) in the mixer and wait till the sugar – water mixture shows a temperature of 115 C. When it reaches 115 C, start the mixer and beat the egg whites at high speed.
- Let the sugar-water mixture cook until it reaches 121 C( and strictly not more)and take it off the heat and pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer that contains the egg whites (beaten).
- Beat the meringue until it is cold ( or atleast until room temperature). You can test the temperature by touching the base of the mixer container.
- Add the fluffy meringue mixture into the Macaronage in two times and mix well. I thought it was slightly strenuous but the dough that was very tough to start with became soft and pliable by the time I had finished.
- Pipe the mixture with 9mm piping tip over a silpat or parchment paper spaced 3 cm from each other.
- Bake at 140 C for 12 mins precisely.
- Let it rest to cool down or alternately or you can refrigerate it for some time
- With the help of a piping bag pipe the filling into one half of the macaronage and use the other to sandwich the filling.
About the Institute
One of its kind in Bahrain that is professional in every aspect of its operations and a brain child of Chef Alain Michel and Chef Fabrice Perrin
Culina is as much for budding cooks/bakers as it is for the seasoned ones to learn the new tricks of the trade.
They have imported all the latest equipment from France and Italy that only professional Chefs use at work which would be available to students
Culina will ensure that once you enroll you will have the opportunity to explore a world of over 20 global cuisines—from the classics to those emerging in popularity
Some of the courses Culina offers are – Basic Training Kitchen, Bakery & Confectionery, Quantity Training Kitchen, Advanced Training Kitchen and Advanced Bakery & Pastry
(info from – http://www.culinabahrain.com)
For further enquiries, you can contact
Culina Cooking Art
You can contact their Office From 8AM – 9PM