The Macaron Challenge: A lesson with Lisa

I’m still, over a year later, trying to master the macaron.

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I’ve done the research; I’ve read blog posts that stress the importance of being gentle, others that say that gentle is a myth. I’ve read recipes (like Laduree’s) that have a 24-hr resting time (all right if you’re in a huge, climate controlled, commercial kitchen in Paris, rather than a tiny, humid Brisbane one), and others that say “just wait until the skin forms.”

But in my opinion, mastering macarons, like mastering any cooking technique, is all in the practice.

My cousin came to visit me when I lived in Sydney, and, as she’s a fellow devotee of Adriano Zumbo, I made sure we took her to one of his patisseries. One became three and when she got home to Hobart, she set about working out how to make macarons. This was in the height of the mainland’s macaron craze, well after the MasterChef tower, but in the beginning of Tasmania’s.

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Batch after batch failed while she worked out the right ratio, the right technique, what colours and flavours worked the best. And then, she hit on the perfect combination.

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But she didn’t stop there. When she came back to Tassie, she’d joked with her local coffee shop owners: “When I work out how to make them, I’ll sell them to you to sell in the shop.”

Guess where they’re currently on sale?

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I was lucky enough to have a whole afternoon with my macaron-master cousin a few weeks ago when she was visiting. While I am sworn to secrecy on the recipe and the technique, I can attest to the method turning out perfectly formed macarons. And I can also say that she’s not the only person I know who is currently selling their macs after spending a long time getting the technique that is right for them down pat. Try, try, try again until you get there.

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I’m pleased to say that since I had this lesson with Lisa, I’ve taken my own advice and have given them another go to pretty good results (not perfect by any means, but definitely better).

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If you’re in Hobart, make sure you go to Kornet Salt Sugar coffee shop and try Lisa’s macarons.

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