Macaron making for dummies
One step closer to the Paul Hollywood handshake, Muddy whips up the perfect macarons at The Real Macaron Company's masterclass. Great British Bake Off 2020, I'm coming for you.
Great British Bake Off obsessed but I can’t raise a smile baking, let alone a cake. As dutiful parents proudly deliver homemade sponges in for the school sale, I’m the one dusting something shop bought with icing sugar – fake it till you make it, baby. But last Thursday evening I was whipping up my egg whites to make macarons. Thanks to tutor, Gaye Perry of The Real Macaron Company, I was performing a minor miracle but the end. Pah, all you Michelin patisserie chefs reading this? Boots. Quake. Starbaker coming through.
The Real Macaron Company use a few different locations – cafes, pro catering units and home kitchens – in Berkshire and Hampshire, but I went along to a class held at Mrs B’s Kitchen in Newbury. It’s quirky cafe on the Faraday Day with an industrial meets kitchen garden vibe. But the kitchen has a large rectangular prep space and all the pro kitchen gadgetry that makes cooking feel a lot easier than it feels at home sometimes.
Making macarons is an art and a science, despite the simplicity of the ingredients. Gaye’s low key, friendly courses aim to demystify this baking nemesis, regardless of ability. Yes, Gaye has taught chefs and professional bakers the art of making macarons, but she believes anyone can do it – even kids. Think baking with a mate and an at home-in-my-Primani Cashmere-comfies vibe and, erm, someone to do the washing-up for you.
ON THE MENU
Clues in the name, I’m signed up for the Macaron Masterclass – basically because by my entire family love them and it’ll save me fortune buying them. But I’ve got my eye on the doughnut course and the four-hour afternoon tea bake off, sounds fab, but I’m not sure my nerves could cope with any baked goods that need to rise. It’s a great gift for any self-respecting kitchen-chef-geek or Bake Off fan – and they run kids’ courses. Here’s a full list. Prices start at a very reasonable £50.
A really friendly bunch who happened to all be teachers. They needed an end of term sugar rush. The groups sizes are deliberately small and, although the others were all keen bakers, it didn’t hinder a dummy like me. It was good to hear that they had been desperate to do the course having heard good things on the grapevine. Bodes well, I reckon.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As we were learning a skill, as opposed to watching a cookery demo, our workstations were set-up around the kitchen island so that Gaye could show each step and give hands-on on tips on our ‘maronage’ technique. Her teaching style is calm and professional but not stiff. Like all great bakers, Gaye’s partial to baking innuendo. She’s lovely to be around and a no point do you feel silly. It will come as no surprise I was the only one to be sandwiching my finished macarons together with a boozy buttercream – Limencello, to be precise. But Gaye reliably informs me if you want create tipple-charged sweet treats, then it works best with a ganache filling. In fact, Gaye’s worked with The Craft Gin Club to create a gin macaron. Now you’re talking. It’s a great class and makes a great gift or fun things to do with your girlie mates. If I can do, then literally anyone can.
- Use older eggs, left at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Add your colour when whisking your meringue.
- Put your piping bag in a glass/mug before adding your mix.
- Handle your macarons from the edge to avoid breakages.
- Leave your macarons to cool for 30mins before piping the filling.
The Real Macaron Company – Newbury, Berkshire and Hamble, Hampshire. 07887 870274.