Philippe and Rachel just returned to Denver after spending ten days in Paris. We had some good dinners together, and, of course, I took them to the Cabane a Huitres for lunch. It was the first time Rachel had ever eaten oysters on the half shell. Too bad I didn't get a picture . .
One of the highlights of their visit (for me) was the afternoon that Rachel and I spent at the bakery across the street. Rachel loves macaroons and the pastry chef, Manuel, offered to give us a private baking lesson.
Manuel explained the differences between several recipes and offered advice about everything from temperature to consistency to flavoring. He patiently answered dozens of questions as he demonstrated his techniques. Here he is mixing up the dough which includes almond flour and sugar plus beaten egg whites.
He then demonstrated technique for using the pastry bag
Rachel practiced forming the macaroons while Manuel looked on, offering advice
The macaroons go into a hot oven just until the "foot" forms, then they are transferred to the second oven at a lower temperature. Manuel showed us how to determine when the macaroons are cooked just right by giving them a little jiggle. Undercooked, they have holes inside; and overcooked, they are too crunchy. After they're cooked, you add a filling. Today's flavor was lemon, although macaroons can be made in many flavors.
A whole box for us to take home to share with Philippe. Yummmmm
Thanks for the lesson!