Road Test: Adriano Zumbo Macarons (AKA An Ode to Failure)

You possibly remember this post where I revelled in the glory that is Zumbo’s packet mix brownie.

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Well guess what. There is no revelling this time. Only deflated and cracked macaron shells and an awful lot of naughty words (I understand this is a recurring theme but you are gonna have to bear with me on this one. Can’t kick it.).

So, I would like to preface this with saying that I HAVE made macarons before. And whilst they were not the kind you would place in the front window of a bakery, they were fine, salvageable, edible…. you get the gist.

These ones were NOT.

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(Also, why so orange? The mixture looked like it had come out of the bum of a jack-o-lantern.)

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad reflection on Zumbo himself, but probably my cooking skills. Anything with egg whites is touch and go. Particularly macarons, and timing is everything. A moment too long in the oven and they’re gone, a moment out too soon and you have the same problem.

But what I was most concerned by is the fact that they were so damn insistent on sticking to the grease-proof cooking paper! Non-stick means non-stick, SO WHY ARE THEY STICKING? Perhaps I should have cornfloured it too, but all I know is that the few shells that looked promising took on the appearance of their mates when I tried to peel them off the paper.

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The mix (obviously) uses powdered egg whites, and I have to admit I am not a fan. I love powdered egg whites for small amounts of royal icing and things like that, but if you are actually cooking them in something, and need lots, I find the powdered stuff has a distinct taste, smell and texture and I cannot stand it. So if you share my dislike of powdered egg whites, steer clear of this mix.

The filling was okay… but super salty, I think I added too much salt, or perhaps I have just not acquired a taste for the level of saltiness that this salted caramel delivered.

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The worst part of this was that it took a whole afternoon and I ate half the shells along the way because they looked so tragic that I couldn’t stand them staring at me, so putting them in my belly seemed the obvious solution. Yeah… just TRY and not feel sick after you do that. I dare you.

But… I think bailures (baking failures, obviously) are part and parcel with the kitchen. I think I have learned most things I know from trial and error… usually the hard way! What fun is baking, really, if you always turn out perfect cakes and un-cracked macaron shells?

…Actually, probably a lot of fun. I wouldn’t know.

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