Macarons should not be crunchy.
There, I've said it loud.
Every contestant in Masterchef Australia episode 61 had crunchy macarons. (Ok, except Andre, who didn't have macarons at all.) The microphones captured the powdery crunch of their "Masterchef macaroons".
Crunch is a result of dehydration. You achieve it in two ways:
- You cook them too far (and hey, the colour quickly tells you it's happening unless you've coloured them strongly).
- You leave them to stand for hours before baking (great for reducing product loss cos the shells don't break easily; not so good for retaining the subtleties of texture).
A good shell is crisp and fairly fragile. It should offer resistance to the teeth, but should not make crunchy sounds. In a bag of macarons transported carefully, it's a miracle if some don't break. Fragile. Understand? Not bakery-meringue robust. Not looking good after cutting with knife!
Some professional bakers in Australia should keep that in mind, as I've noted elsewhere before.
Contestants Poh and Chris did well to produce such visually attractive ones first time round. Unfortunately, I wouldn't mind betting that this line in the recipe they used was what led them to overcooking the shells: "cook until macaron is able to be lifted from tray". Ovens vary so much that this instruction is fairly pointless, especially for novices. My home oven would turn macarons to rusks if I had to wait until they lifted off the tray without coaxing.
UPDATE: Scroll down for another piece of silliness, discovered after publishing this earlier today.
Australian Gourmet Traveller has a big fat French wank edition this month (some nice recipes, a little food wisdom). The front cover features pink macarons. Behold the following lines in their recipe (French meringue version, by the way):
The first highlighted sentence is simply rubbish. The second highlighted sentence will most likely give you a nice, thick, powdery, crunchy shell. Delicious! Ha.