Saturday 28 January 2012

A macaron lesson with Crumbs' Macarons

This post was first posted at Day 4 : Crumbs’ Macarons on Deliciouslogy | Wordpress.

1) Bidor: Restoran Yi Hao
2) Ipoh: Restoran Ong Kee
2b) Ipoh: Ipoh Parade
3) Ipoh: Aneka Selera Kam Wan
4) KL: Levain
5) PJ: Departure Lounge
6) Subang: Vanilla Place, Empire Shopping Gallery
7) SS15: Gong Cha
8) Mont Kiara: Chilla Cup
9) KL: Restoran Keong Kee
10) KL: Snowflake, Sungai Wang
11) KL: Rakuzen, G Tower

12) Crumbs Macarons

My makan week during the Hari Raya break in 2011 (yes, this is a very backdated post) ended with a visit to a dear macaron baker.

A pleasant surprise came in the form of a message through facebook from Aleena, the owner of Crumbs. A friend of hers took notice of Deliciouslogy’s post on various macarons in KL (this post) and Aleena decided to invite Ezel and myself to taste her macarons. I was ecstatic when I found out that she was a macaron lover too! We actually met a year before at Hada Labo’s High Tea Event at Fukuya and we were sitting at the same table! Talk about small world!

Here's a pretty photo to tempt you first~

Dear Aleena had a spread of macarons and fruit tarts out on a beautiful layered tea tray ready for photos and it was too pretty to eat! (but we ate them anyway)

She mentioned there were 2 types of macarons for us to try. One was the premix macarons (straight from the packet) and one was macarons made from scratch.

This is how the flour looks like.

The instruction says to just add water. Just add water? D8 What magic is this? Apparently the flour has egg white powder to replace real egg whites and it was evident in the macaron shells' shine.

The macaron at the back is the one made 'traditionally' which has a real shine. The one in front of it is made with the premix.

In terms of taste, there was no almond taste but there were almond bits in the texture.

The premix ones also look less appetizing. The absence of shine really makes the macaron dull.

We also had the chance to see unfilled macarons aka just macaron shells. A quick sniff into the box and there was no smell what so ever and the shell alone was bland. In Malaysian terms, tak sedap lah!

Looking at this photo, the premix macaron photo are pretty obvious, the two left ones are the premix, the one on the furthest right is the proper macaron. The 'feet' are thicker.

So folks, if you see macarons with no shine, you'll know that they're cheaply made with egg white powder not with real egg whites beaten to perfection. And if they're not puffed up nicely... it's because there's no real egg whites in them... you'll know that they're made with egg white powder.

Moving on to flavors, there were 2 Vanilla flavors (one filled with buttercream, the other with caramel), 2 Chocolate flavors, Strawberry, Pistachio and Lemon to test.

Let's start with the vanilla macaron with buttercream filling. The vanilla flavor were from vanilla pods from a vanilla bean. No vanilla essence/flavoring here.

The macarons were chewy with a nice crispy shell. It was left to rest for 24 hours so the filling has seeped into the macaron shell hence the chewy texture. The filling was rich and creamy. It goes so well together that we were in 7th heaven~

Next is the vanilla macaron with caramel filling. The sticky caramel gave the vanilla macaron a slight twist with the sweet, sinful filling.

Here's a fruit flavor that's a best seller. Lemon was tangy and very refreshing. You can eat lots of it and never get sick of it. It's made with real lemon zest.

Another fruit flavor is strawberry. It was a lightly flavored strawberry macaron shell with a white chocolate buttercream filling. It had a faint strawberry taste, another lightly flavored one.

Pistachio is my favorite flavor! The pistachios were ground high quality pistachio with lovely, lovely white chocolate buttercream filling. Ahhhhh can't get enough of them!

Nyam! It's really fragrant and it goes really well with the filling.

The last 2 flavors are chocolate...

... and chocolate.

The lighter-colored chocolate macaron with the chocolate drizzle is the 'older' version which is a lighter tasting version. The darker-colored chocolate macaron without the chocolate drizzle was an experimental version with cocoa version from Sabah.

It was like eating a chocolate truffle - very fragrant, very rich and absolutely sinful! The cocoa powder really makes all the difference! Both chocolate macarons are filled with white chocolate buttercream.

The whole experience with Aleena was very enlightening honestly. She was very patient to explain to us the difference between the French meringue technique and the Italian meringue technique. French meringue required more TLC, has less sugar, has a puffier shell and it's harder to manage while the Italian meringue requires less TLC, has more sugar and has a flatter shell. She's still experimenting with both techniques to find out which works out best for her.

Also, macarons have to be left to settle outside of the fridge for 30 minutes before consumption. Letting them settle allows them to soften and that's where the chewy, 'sinking in when you bite in' texture comes from.

Meeting a macaron baker was really fun! And like I said before - enlightening! For once, I was able to share my opinions and views about taste and texture and the best part was that someone actually considered and took into account my opinion.

Why do I mention the 'taking into consideration' portion? Because the next post is a revisited post! Ezel and I recently visited Aleena (pre-CNY visiting hehe) and her macarons have gotten better! Her technique had improved and there are even more flavors now! There are 7 flavors in this post but she's gone as far as 13 flavors now!

Trust me when I say that I support good food and this is good food. Her ingredients are all natural ingredients - she's generous with expensive ingredients (stuff like Belgium chocolate mind you!). Do visit her facebook page and order some macs from her! I assure you, you will not regret it!

Till the next post!