Here are a few things I learned about pastry in general, and macarons in particular, during pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer’s demo at the Indianapolis City Market yesterday — and if you want to learn some pretty cool stuff too (and get to sample a fabulous macaron), head to the Ivy Tech culinary facility at 2820 N.Meridian St. at 1 p.m. today, where he’s doing another demo!
But in case you can’t make it, here are some points I noted during his macaron-making demo.
“Macarons are a little bit high maintenance, but once you get the hang of it, you shouldn’t have a problem.”
“Macarons are a three- to four-day process — sorry!”
“With almond powder, the drier, the better.” You have to let it dry for at least 24 hours. “You could let it dry for two weeks.”
When making ganache, “the flavor happens in the cream.” For more flavor, infuse the cream a day ahead.
If you boil the cream, you’ll evaporate the water and “your ganache is going to fail.”
If you get distracted and you do boil the ganache for a few minutes, you might as well start over. You can’t say, “Oh well. Don’t worry.”
“‘Don’t worry’ doesn’t work in pastry. ‘Just wing it’ never, never works in pastry.”
When making the ganache, assuming you did not boil the cream: “Like any sauce, if it’s well made, it will shine.”
On adding a flavor to your ganache: “Earl Gray tea is excellent with chocolate; try it sometime.”
Spread the ganache on a plastic-wrap lined baking sheet to cool.
On choosing fruit for jam: “Good fruit makes good jam. Wait for the fruit to be nice and ripe and then make the jam.”
Once you’ve baked the macarons, allowed them to dry and then assembled them with your ganache and jam, “You cannot eat them now. Wait for the moisture in the ganache and jam to go through the shell and make it moist.”
Refrigerate them and check them after 24 hours (which means you get to eat one). “Make sure they’re moist. Then you can serve them.Or you can freeze them. They freeze really well.”
And finally, when baking, “for the love of God, always set a timer for everything.”
— Jolene Ketzenberger