How do I make my macaron shells smooth?
In the latest in our occasional series of blog posts where we try to answer your macaron baking questions, we’re sharing our top tips for making your macarons shells perfectly smooth.
There are three main factors that may prevent your shells from becoming perfectly smooth domes: graininess from undissolved sugar, graininess from undermixed batter, and peaks that form when piping. Here are our three suggested solutions to these issues.
1. Choose the correct meringue
The essentials of a macaron batter are meringue and almond flour. But there are different types of meringue. So which is best? We recommend following a recipe that uses either Italian meringue (combining hot sugar syrup with whisked egg whites) or Swiss meringue (whisking egg whites and sugar together over boiling water). These methods ensure that the sugar crystals are fully dissolved - eliminating one possible source of graininess.
2. Mix your batter to the right consistency
This is a tip that comes down to experience. Once you have made macarons a few times, you will get a feel for how the batter should appear when it has been mixed correctly. When mixed to perfection, the batter should flow like lava. If your batter is under-mixed you will get a slightly grainy finish and perhaps a small peak where you finished piping.
3. Give the tray a helpful tap
If your piped shells look like they aren’t going to settle into a flat surface you can give them a helping hand by tapping the baking tray of piped shells on your work surface to encourage them to spread and settle. Small peaks that have formed from the piping process can be smoothed out with a clean finger or a small brush.