Attend A Macaron Class
It’s not very often you get to spend a Saturday afternoon mixing up a batch of delectable macarons under the watchful eye of an international award winning chef whose macarons have appeared in Time Out London’s feature on the Best Macarons in London, and are bestsellers in Harvey Nichols. Luckily for me, this is how I spent yesterday afternoon thanks to my lovely Mum who organised this cooking class as part of my Christmas present.
Anyway, getting to the class wasn’t as simple as I’d hoped. After looking up on Google Maps the best way to get to my destination, I had jotted down the simple three instructions onto my phone and I was ready to go. What should have taken me ‘seven minutes’ according to Google, in fact took my nearly an hour because it sent me the wrong bloody way. I was stressed, flustered and at one point had to break out into a gentle jog if I was ever going to make it to Macaron Mecca. Eventually, ten minutes late and on the verge of collapsing (I’m not exaggerating when I say this, a large parka coat + heavy bag + stressful running = near-fainting) I arrived at the workshop. Everybody stared at me in deathly silence as I faffed around getting myself together — and, finally, the class began.
Loretta Liu is the chef in charge of the class, and she made everything look simple and quick which I suppose is a good thing, however when each demonstration was over and it was our turn to bake, it turned out that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looked. She showed us the whole process of making the macaron shells, from whipping up the egg whites to the folding of those egg whites into the icing sugar and ground almonds. There was a real knack to successful folding, which Loretta said came with a lot of practise, so, for now, we did our best to replicate what she showed us.
Making the macarons was relatively simple, and after piping them onto the silicone mats that lay over the baking trays, we were ready to pop them into the oven for baking (after waiting ten minutes or so for a slight skin to form). The whole idea of Loretta’s class, is to show you the process of making the macaron’s, help you as you make your own, and then once the shells are out of the oven, she went through each person’s batch and explained what went wrong and how to improve for next time. The idea is not to come away with perfect macarons, because then we will never learn – as always, making mistakes is a good thing.
After making the shells, Loretta demonstrated how to make the chocolate ganache that would serve as the filling between two macaron shells. We didn’t get to make it ourselves because it was too time consuming, however we were each given a bar of cooled-down ganache at the end of the class to take home and spread between the macarons when they were no longer so warm. A complaint made to Loretta by students in the past, was that completing the macarons in the class itself actually caused the macaron to fall apart by the time the students got home because the macaron shells were simply too warm to be filled. So, I didn’t finish off my neon-pink delights until I got home.
I would highly recommend taking Loretta Liu’s class if you can, or if you know somebody who loves baking but isn’t that confident or just wants to perfect their skills then give this Macaron Making class as a gift. You learn so much in two and a half hours and not only that, but you get to take home a delicious box of thirty or so macarons that, to me anyway, look pretty damn good! You also get discounts in Loretta’s little shop that is attached to the kitchen, where you can purchase every accessory you could possibly need. You learn tricks of the trade and it feels nice to be taught by somebody who is a real pro at what they do — Loretta explained that trying to make patisserie, particularly macarons, by just following a recipe book is extremely difficult. Watching and learning in the flesh is much easier, and guaratees beautiful and delicious results. All the information you need about the Macaron Magic Class can be found here.