Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Gentle Reminder to Frustrated Bakers




Parisian macaron are tricky little stinkers. You take the time to perfect them; believing you’ve suffered all the travails the ungrateful little sugar nubs have to offer only to discover that a slight change in baking environment can destroy your sugar world. Gone are your hard won ruffled feet and the lacquered sheen of shell. Instead you’re left with dull, fissured blobs with grotesque air pockets and soggy bottoms, the hallmarks of a macaron meringue gone rogue. If you’ve been living in blissful macaron baking perfection, any ground lost in the mac world is horrifying.

This isn’t just the conundrum of the home baker. This plagues the professional. As my beautiful new space comes together and I revel in the gleaming equipment, the gloriously unsplattered walls, the pristine dish area and the working mixers, in the back of my sugar encrusted noggin I know that before I can triumph in this space I’ll have to get to know pain in this space. Because I’m going to screw up mightily. I’ll be flummoxed and frustrated. I’ll subject myself to nihilism and criticism. I’ll question my sanity and talent. But in time, all of this disaster will translate into me becoming the expert in my space. So to those lovely bakers, home and professional alike, give yourself the room to screw up sometimes whether you're baking Parisians or Tollhouse. The weather, your oven, your ingredients…something may have changed. But if you remain kind to yourself and fearless in your baking, you’ll overcome all culinary obstacles and make the perfect macaron again.