For my birthday I received a voucher for a macaron masterclass. Baking has always been a passion of mine, and I really enjoy taking part in classes and activities. London is so huge and on the surface appears to be the perfect place to meet lots of new people, however without going out and doing things like this London can actually be quite a lonely place to live.
I was super excited to attend the Mon Dessert Macaron Masterclass because I have attempted macarons before and failed miserably, they weren’t the fluffy but chewy macarons you see in places like Laduree and L’orchidee, they ended up being flat, flakey, almond flavour discs that seemed to spread out in the oven.
We arrived just before 6pm and were greeted by the lovely Samina who hosted the masterclass. We were put into pairs and each pair was given a flavour of macaron to make (we were given pistachio) and shown to our baking stations where she had laid out everything we would need to get started including Mon Dessert aprons with our names on them!
Aprons adorned, we quickly got to work making our macaron filling. I didn’t expect to make the filling first for some reason but it worked out so much easier when it came to assembling our macarons at the end.
Everyone was getting stuck in to the baking as well as getting to know each other and it was a really lovely atmosphere. Once the macaron fillings were finished they went into the fridge and we moved onto making the macaron mixture.
Samina had measured out the ingredients for us in handy bags which made everything so much quicker and easier. You can buy her macaron making kits in an assortment of flavours here.
Into the mixture went ground almonds, icing sugar, caster sugar, egg whites (who knew you could buy these in a carton?!) and ground pistachios to give us gorgeous green coloured shells. We whisked the egg whites and caster sugar until we had formed stiff peaks, then mixed in the rest of the ingredients.
Next: the piping. Watching Samina do this looked equally very easy and extremely difficult. It does take a bit of getting used to but once you’ve got the hang of it you’re good to go. Having the silicone mats with circle outlines made getting the continuity in the sizing much easier.
Once we had piped our macarons we dropped the trays from a few inches high to remove any excess air bubbles and allowing them to take a neater, more uniformed shape on the silicone mats. Just before the macarons went into the oven we all added finishing touches to our flavours e.g. ground pistachios, rose petals, gold dust, etc.
While the macarons went in the oven for around 20-30 minutes, Le Pain Quotidein provided us with a selection of breads with various jams and preserves, along with refreshments. Just a heads up, their hazelnut spread tastes amazing!
Once the macarons were out of the oven I think we were all surprised with how good they looked! After they had cooled we all shared out our creations and piped different fillings into the casings. This part was super therapeutic and I think we all enjoyed letting our creativity loose over the decorating process. We were provided with edible glitter, rice paper decorations, coffee beans, edible marker pens and various other things to decorate our macarons.
At the end of the evening Samina gave us all display gift boxes to take our creations home in and they honestly looked like something you would buy in a shop. I took my macarons into work a few days later after keeping them in the fridge (top tip from Samina to refrigerate them for a couple of days, it made them really soft and chewy) and they went down a storm. We were all emailed the recipes as well so we can use our new found skills to make them again.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Mon Dessert Macaron Masterclass, it was a lovely experience and Samina was so helpful. It was a great way to meet new people and in fact I have stayed in contact and been out to dinner with one of the girls I met there since attending the class. It would also be a really lovely thing to do with friends or family. Take a look at some of the other Mon Dessert classes here.