Before the explosion of the TV phenomenon Masterchef and the macarons from Adriano Zumbo, there was Master Markham.
Melbourne's food bloggers had first tasted the macaron masterpieces that Duncan had made as far back at 2007. They were a sensation and produced a buzz around the Melbourne food blog scene for quit a while. I was one of those caught up in the wave and was lucky enough to have Duncan teach me personally how to make them in our first Macaron Masterclass. Yes, I had coined that word before Masterchef, so that's my claim to fame. :-)
Duncan was kind enough to once again do another Macaron Masterclass. This time, Sarah, Sandra and myself were present. This time, we upped the ante and decided to do more flavours. Initially, we had thought of doing 4, but luckily we dropped it down to three. Otherwise we would have thrown in the towel I suspect as it finished quite late into the night. Sarah has written a great summary of the day, so I won't bother repeating it all.
We used Duncan's own recipe as the base for our macaron shells.
Everyone took their stations and got into it.
The piped shells. I've discovered I still have very far to go with my piping skills. These perfect beauties were by Duncan.
The baked shells, all glossy with their feets, waiting to be filled.
Sandra filling shells while "quality checking" them at the same time.
As for the flavours, we finally settled on:
* Coffee shells with White Chocolate Ganache - rose coloured shells
* Violet shells with violet gelatin set cream (I insisted that we must do violet) - green coloured shells
* Mandarin shells with mandarin gelatin set cream - purple coloured shells
Look how beautiful they turned out.
I suggested that we switch the colours of the shell from what you would normally expect, just to provide a disconnect with the flavour and the colour, providing another sensation when you ate it since you are expecting something else. I think it worked out well.
I love the violet the best, that's no secret. I wasn't so sure about the other two flavours though. I thought the coffee and white chocolate combination would be rather boring. I didn't like when we first made it, but after two days, I was loving the coffee flavour. I wasn't sure about the mandarin flavour either, as usually mandarins don't have a strong flavour. However, again, the mandarin ones worked a treat. The mandarin flavour really shone through.
After a few days, the gelatin set creams didn't hold as well as the ganache. The shells got a bit soggy and melded with the filling. Although this made them look terrible, the flavours were amazing. Next time, the filling sneed to be stiffer to hold the moisture in and not melt the shells.
It was a lot of fun making the macarons and thanks to sarah and Sandra for the lunch and to Master Markham for again imparting his knowledge of the beauty (and beast, it's so damn hard to make a perfect macaron, trust me, I've tried and failed miserably) that is the elusive macaron. I haven't tasted Adriano Zumbo's macarons, but I doubt they could get much better than the Markham violet macaron.