When Alex came to visit me at Bath, we’d always walk past The Bertinet Bakery on the way home. They are the best – the best pastries, sausage rolls, bread… You name it. Another fun fact is that they do all sorts of different classes there. We took a flyer and looked through all the different classes. The only problem was that they are, well, expensive. Another obstacle between me and my master chef status.
However, for my birthday last year, Alex gave me what would be one of the nicest presents I’ve ever recieved – a voucher for a class there. Holy crap, right?! So that’s how I ended up at The Bertinet Bakery doing a macaron class with Ming. Ming’s not really a part of the back story, I just persuaded her to come with because it’d be more fun.
Oh yeah – It’s also fall break which is why I’m back from Copenhagen. And Ming and the family are visitng London. There’s the back story for that.
So after Ming and I get up at 6am, we hop on the train and, bam, we’re in Bath! After we rocked up to the class (and I accidentally introduced myself to the wrong class upstairs), we made it to where we were supposed to be. Which apparently, was with a toast-jam-tea breakfast. Yes! Shouldn’t have had that Upper Crust baguette before.
Freshly made bread and jam. It’s a good life.
Once I stopped rolling my eyes back at how good everything tasted, I noticed all the ingredients laid out. I was ready to roll and embark on my destiny in becoming a macaron master.
Let’s do this.
He demonstrated how to make a basic macaron shell, and we split up into 3 groups to make 4 different types each. He would then guide us all and stop everyone to gather around each other’s to demonstrate how to make each of the fillings, or if there was any additional nuggets of knowledge.
I’ve discovered why my one bicep is so much bigger than the other – so much cooking and whisking.
We’d prepared the first two of our flavours, had put one batch in the oven and were waiting for the other one to be ready (it makes a small layer of skin). Yeah that’s right, knowledge for everyone. Then it was cookie and coffee break! Hooray!
He demonstrated how to make these pistachio and rose water babies at the start of class and they were finally ready. It was like a normal macaron, but he added a lil summin summin extra to make them more cookie-like. I’m still waiting on the recipe, which may become my new go-to bake. SO good.
Once I managed to sneak a couple, our first couple of batches were ready.
The first were for our lemon and thyme ones. And…. they looked like shit.
Oh. And so did out second ones, which were actually even more shit. And actually looks like there’s actual shit on top (it’s supposed to be dried raspberries for our raspberry ones).
Both were cracked and weak in colour. So basically we had to add a lot more food colouring than we thought, and…. well we had no idea why they were cracked. The oven? We didn’t mix it enough? FFS.
Our third batch was already made and piped by now so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
The other two groups seemed to be doing well though. A little too well.
Are you kidding me? THOSE LOOKED PERFECT. THIS ISN’T FAIR.
On top of that, a couple of the groups were already putting filling in because they had their shit together.
Those are Orange, Carrot and Cinnamon ones above. That orange stuff is carrot/orange jelly. Aren’t they amazing? I want to make them for Christmas.
Then I realised I wouldn’t be able to because I still wouldn’t know how to make macarons that don’t crack at the top and aren’t utterly shite. In fact, they were so bad that the chef told us to re-do the raspberry ones. Yep. So we were now doing our last flavour, as well as our second flavour again.
After that last picture, I didn’t snap for a while for a couple of reasons:
- Our third flavour (passionfruit) was also cracked. We had now discovered that we were over-working the macarons.
- Our re-make of our raspberry was going well until the guy on our team piping them accidentally smooshed the mix on the tray with the piping bag. He tried to fix them, then accidentally smooshed the other half. To be fair, the circles weren’t that great anyway.
My inner control freak came out, and I sweetly asked if I could pipe the next batch. I did. And OH YEAH, WERE THEY AMAZING, YES THEY WERE.
I took two pictures from different angles because that’s just how proud I was. Like a smug little bitch.
Our fourth batch (mint flavoured) had come out of the oven now. Surprise, surprise. Cracked. (Our discovery of over-working them was after we prepared this batch). I kind of liked them though, they looked like turtle shells.
There was no time to cry about it though. I mean, literally, the class was nearly over.
So we popped in the filling and the others in the class just dealt with the fact that they got the shit end of the stick, where they make fabulous macarons and we made crappo ones and we still all had to share them in the end.
We made the most of it though. I still think the cracked ones looked pretty.
Okay, maybe not our first batch of raspberry ones. These were long gone.
Quote our teacher: “Maybe you can mix these into ice-cream”.
Our last batch though?
There were about five cracked ones, but I can’t tell you how happy I was to see these babies look at least decent.
Well, I was this happy…
These raspberry bad boys were my pride and joy. Ming and I took control and popped in the filling, which was freshly made raspberry jam (by us – a jam class as well as a cooking class eh?).
The class includes lunch, so after all the cooking was done, we sat down and enjoyed the spread they had prepared. And wine.
And before you leave, you get a box and fill it up with macarons! Hoorah!
Such a fun day full of sugar and building up my right bicep! Thank you Alex!