Monash Cook-Off #10: Strawberry Macarons

Written by: Zoe Yap

Featuring: Teng Sin Hui

You may know the macaron as one of France’s many treasured desserts-  elegant, button-shaped treats that vary in color and taste. The word rolls delicately off your tongue, a prelude for what’s to come next. With a pillowy shell, it dissolves away into a rush of sweetness on the tip of your tongue. With a single bite, it whisks you away to a rainy day in Paris.

Macarons first gained popularity in 1792. Two nuns, known as the  ‘Macaron Sisters’ sold macaron cookies for a living. Early macarons did not contain any flavour or fillings. 

Today’s macarons are the perfect fusion of airy meringue, buttercream, sugar and  almond flour.   They must not be confused with macaroons, which are made of shredded coconut. Each macaron shell holds silky ganache, jam filling, or cream. It looks almost unreal, too good to be true. However, the macaron is a mirage that holds true to its word. 

Although unassuming on the outside, macarons are notoriously fickle to make. The mixture is crucial- too much flour and sugar would create a cakey, crispy texture. Obtaining ‘feet’, the ruffle at the base of the shell, is considered a sign of success. 

A delicious macaron would require the right conditions, precision and consistency- something our Cook Off winner has mastered! 

First things first- what inspired you to make this? 

Well, actually, it was nothing much. I learned how to bake macarons in class, and I wanted to recreate it at home. I don’t really like desserts, though- they’re too sweet! So I decided to make something sourish. 

Wait, you learned this in class?

Yes, I have a culinary diploma! 

How exactly did you make the dessert? 

First, I whipped egg whites, vinegar and sugar. I also added colouring. There’s no way I could get that colour naturally. These macarons have a white chocolate strawberry ganache. To get that, I melted white chocolate, lemon juice, heavy cream, and strawberry puree together. 

So you mentioned you don’t really have a sweet tooth? 

Yes, I’m not really a fan of desserts. They’re too sweet. But I think not having a sweet tooth can be important, though. You need to think about how these desserts would taste like for everyone else and how they would like it. 

Also, I didn’t use a plate as a background! I used a tray instead and no one noticed- (I didn’t either!)– and the photo came out really good. 

Lastly,  what would you do with the prize money? 

Well, it depends on what it is. If it was a Grabpay prize, I would probably just buy food with it. 

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