bake - March/April 2020 - 8

department
technical
corner

Functionality of Eggs in Macarons
Macarons have come out of hiding in recent years. Whereas for-

rons to rest prior to baking, for anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.

merly bakers favored pale, pastel colors, today's assortments

The texture of the almond flour, the temperature, state and ratio

push the boundaries with brighter, more vivid colors and flavors.

of the sugars used, the moisture content of the egg white, along

Once the basic recipe is mastered, the flavor possibilities are

with random environmental variables, such as temperature and

endless-yet that's a big hurdle to leap. These seemingly light,

humidity, can all play a role in the degree of success creating a

airy confections are renowned for being tricky to master.

macaron.

While a talented baker can create ovals or heart-shaped macarons, most are circular. The average macaron is approximately 2

Egg Science

in. in diameter. The proper appearance includes a smooth, glossy

As the critical component within a meringue, a proper understand-

top above a slightly frilly or ruffled "foot" at the base. The tex-

ing of the egg's role helps foster success. Careful separation of the

ture is light and airy with a slight, but not tough, chew. A cross-

eggs is key; only pure whites without any yolk or other oils will cre-

sectional cut should reveal an interior with an even, spongy tex-

ate the properly textured meringue. Another key is to avoid over-

ture without large air pockets. Macarons of similar size can then

beating the egg whites; overbeating leads to separation. When egg

be sandwiched around jelly, ganache, or buttercream.

whites are beaten, the proteins within unfold and then join back

The secret to achieving this ideal depends on the meringue,

together to form a reinforced network between positively and neg-

as the macaron is a meringue-based cookie created with four

atively charged molecules. A medium stiff meringue will form soft,

simple, basic ingredients-almond flour, egg whites, sugar (gran-

yet sturdy, peaks. As the egg whites form bonds, water droplets

ulated, confectioners, or a blend), and flavoring. When baked,

are trapped within this protein matrix. Sugar helps stabilize the egg

steam is released from the meringue or whipped egg white,

white foam to make it thicker and less likely to collapse. When egg

causing it to rise and create its classic structure.

whites are overbeaten, the water breaks through the protein matrix
and is released back into the mixture.
French bakers have a history of using copper bowls to make

Bakers have a choice between two different methods of me-

meringues, since copper ions have a tendency to form tight

ringue preparation: French or Italian. An Italian meringue in-

bonds with reactive groups. This prevents the egg whites from

volves heat, forming a meringue by whisking the egg whites

binding too tightly together and helps avoid protein separation.

with a hot sugar syrup. The key is to blend it slowly to produce

Others might introduce a small amount of acid (lemon juice or

a glossy, stable foam. Reportedly the Italian method produces a

cream of tartar) since the acid interferes with the protein-pro-

finer crumb than the French method, for a smoother mouthfeel.

tein interactions.

Most commercial bakeries use the Italian method. With the me-

No single written article can replace a proper course of in-

ringue still slightly warm, it is time to mix in the dry ingredients.

struction. The American Egg Board has partnered with Rouxbe

A French meringue does not require any heat. Egg whites are

Global Food Group, a premier online culinary school, to create

beaten to form a stiff meringue, followed by folding in the al-

course materials and training for cooks and chefs, specifically

mond flour and confectioner's sugar or a confectioner's/granu-

related to fostering a greater understanding of one of baking's

lated blend.

fundamentals, the egg. The egg curriculum includes two cours-

The result should be a thick, glossy and sticky batter, which the

es: Foundations and Functionality. Find the registration and

baker deposits in the form of small discs, onto the selected baking

more information at eggpro.rouxbe.com.

medium. With the French method it is advisable to allow the maca-

A MER ICA N EGG B OA R D

STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Choose Your Meringue

08 < MAR-APR 2020 | bakemag.com

Bake_Mar-Apr20.indb 8

3/26/2020 2:21:29 PM


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