PARIS PASTRY

French Pastry Class in Paris: Learning to Make Macarons

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My idea of dreams coming true is when two of my greatest passions collide: travelling and baking. You might have noticed many more recipes and sweet treats making their way to my blog recently, especially since I opened my dessert restaurant Charlie’s Dessert House late last year. The idea in opening my restaurant was to focus on bringing sweets from around the world back to my hometown and fulfilling my passions for pastry in the meantime. But because I still love travelling and want to keep exploring while the opportunity is there for me, it has been a bit of a juggling act between my two passions. Recently I booked a trip to Paris for both of these passions to come together in the one place, which also happens to be the centre of pastry for the whole world!

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

My Macaron Making Class in Paris

Soon I’ll be filming a guide to baking macarons on my new Youtube Channel for Charlie’s, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you the ins and outs of my macaron making class in Paris. Prior to my class I have already been making macarons for the shop, however have found myself becoming inconsistent and wanting to ask a professional all the ins and outs of macaron making to ensure our bite-sized treats are the best in town.

The class I booked was €99 for a three hour macaron class at La Cuisine Paris. This seemed a fair price to pay for three hours of quizzing a French pastry chef, so I happily obliged and booked my course for a Thursday morning, followed by a croissant making class the next day.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Step One: Prepare Your Fillings

While I believe the only way to get a really good idea of macarons and their secrets is to take a class or learn from a professional, I’m going to do my best to recount the class and provide some tips for you to help improve your macarons skills at home (plus with the new video, you’ll be a pro in no time!)

The first thing we did was to measure out ingredients (mis en place) and begin preparing our pastry creams and ganache fillings for the different flavoured macarons.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Italian vs French Method

An ongoing debate that I constantly find myself questioning, is whether to follow the Italian or French method when making macarons. The main difference between the two is that the Italian method involves hot sugar syrup, whereas the French method involves only raw sugar (and thus is a lot easier). Because I had never been shown the Italian method and believed I was pouring the heated sugar wrong, I started to follow the French method for the past few months working in the bakery. However knowing that the main macaron houses (Laduree, Pierre Herme) follow the Italian method, I was eager to learn this in the masterclass so that I could produce higher quality macarons.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Italian Method Macarons

Because the quality of the Italian method macarons is that much higher, I was delighted to learn the ins and outs of getting the recipe correct to produce perfect macarons (and thus will never revert back to the French method!)

Another important note is to always sift your almond meal + icing sugar mix and to discard the large parts of the mixture. I have read in many recipes to do this twice or three times, however Guilleme, my pastry chef teacher, assures me once is enough.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Creating a Paste

The next step of the Italian Method (which I’ll provide the recipe for soon on the blog – promise!) is to create a paste with egg whites and the almond mix. Guilleme then allowed us to choose our colour and incorporate this in to the mix before the hard part begins.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

The “Macaronage” Stage

This is by far the hardest part about making macarons and where most budding bakers go wrong. The important thing to note (which will be much easier to demonstrate in the upcoming video), is not to overmix your batter. Using a folding technique you should fold only 8 or so times before checking your mixture and shortly thereafter it will be at the “lava” stage, ready for piping.

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Piping the Macarons

One of the areas I never thought I failed on is piping, however there was a key mistake I have been making that Guilleme corrected for me and will result in much better macarons for Charlie’s! My issue was to release the bag and lift to soon, not allowing enough time for the macaron to disperse itself (if anything, macarons are about patience!)

Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons Pastry Class in Paris - How to make Macarons

Macaron Masterclass in Paris

The purpose of this blog is to give you a little insight in to my masterclass and hopefully encourage you to book your own when in Paris – I really did learn a lot! The next day I went back to learn how to make croissants and breakfast pastries, which was also a great class and a quick way to learn techniques from the pros themselves.

I would absolutely recommend this class to anyone interested in making macarons like a pro and only wish I had more time in Paris to continue learning French pastry skills!

Paris_For_Pastry_Lovers

After the Class

Afterwards Guilleme gave each participant a map with an extensive list of pastry equipment shops, patisseries, foodie finds and all sorts of insider secrets to Paris (many of which you will see recommended on this blog). If you’re a baker or aspiring to own your own bakery one day, this has been one of the best ways for me to master my skills and learn quickly on the spot. Highly recommended!

Macaron_Class_In_Paris

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  • teresa.enge@gmail.com'
    Teresa Engebretsen
    July 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Bonjour!
    I love La Cuisine Paris! I took some of my French students there in March to make éclairs and we had a delicious time. We also made gougères from the same pâte à chou. I look forward to trying the Italian method at home. I’ve done it in a macaron making class here in where I live in NC, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it alone. Time to give it a try!
    Merci!

  • zhanna.seravokaya@gmail.com'
    Zhanna
    July 4, 2017 at 3:10 am

    It doesn’t even surprise me that you are baking macaroons. All your readers, including me, are aware about your love for sweets 🙂

  • jacquelinepoulos@hotmail.com'
    Jacq
    June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Ooh, my best friend and I did this class too when we were in Paris a couple of years ago!
    They were so lovely and friendly, and it was an excellent intro into making macarons myself 🙂

  • justundiscovered@gmail.com'
    Ashly
    June 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Definitely adding pastry classes to my itinerary when I visit Paris next year. I’ve finally made macarons this year so it’ll be great to learn from the pros and it looks like a great experience.

  • happyroomonline@gmail.com'
    plazma burst
    June 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Looks like very delicious !!! Parisians are artists, they have an amazing sense of aesthetics….

  • info@explorista.net'
    Milou
    June 13, 2017 at 1:52 am

    I can barely muster up enough patience to read a macaron recipe, let alone make them, haha! I do enjoy baking though, so who knows – one day!?!

  • moonlighttravelblog@gmail.com'
    Jannike
    June 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Wauw, I would to learn how to make macarons! Especially in Paris!

  • taste.france@yahoo.com'
    Taste of France
    June 12, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I love your photos of the process and look forward to your video.
    Personally, I cheat and buy the boxed mix for macarons. It’s surprisingly good.

  • Pivotalpoint@westnet.com.au'
    Michelle
    June 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I also attended this class A few years ago and have since made macarons back in Perth. Great experience and lifelong skill. We stayed on a lovely apartment on Isle St. Louis a short stroll over the bridge and a few blocks from La Cuisine. Did you do the baguette class too?

  • dreamofadventures@gmail.com'
    the adventurer
    June 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    what an incredible experience! love that you got to check this off your bucket list =o)

  • michael@mileinmyglasses.co.uk'
    Michael @ Mile in My Glasses
    June 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    It’s 8 a.m. and I’m already hungry now, ha! Thanks for this amazing post Brooke! Those macarons look amazing!

    I hope you have a wonderful start to your week,
    Michael

  • mail@joydellavita.com'
    Lisa Schwarz
    June 12, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Wow, this looks incredibly awesome!!

    I hope you have a great Day! 🙂

    Lisa |