Those of you who follow me will know I love to bake! For the past two years I have baked along with GBBO every week and I really enjoy expanding my skills!
As cooking classes are not a possibility at the moment due to the pandemic, I sought a different way to learn a new bake and was thrilled to discover the fantastic Mon Dessert kits. I really loved the kits content and the fact it includes the necessary baking equipment & a video tutorial which would be crucial to mastering the techniques of these challenging desserts!
How it works!
Every month the kit gives you the chance to stretch you skills and are an enjoyable learning experience. The kits contain all of the pre-weighed non-perishable ingredients you require, a detailed recipe card, a link to a video tutorial and the essential kitchen tools for the bake! You will need to add a few perishable ingredients each month such as eggs, milk etc.
Kits are delivered around mid-month, but in advance of each box being delivered you will be emailed the dessert. This includes information on the skill, equipment and time each kit will take. You are then able to skip that month should it not be something you are interested in making or for me if I already had the item of equipment.
The subscriptions vary in cost depending on the length you commit to, the longer the subscription the more you save on the box. A rolling monthly subscription is £19.95, including free UK mainland delivery and you can cancel at any time.
The perfect gift for a homebaker or sweet toothed friend, gift subscriptions are also available. These are charged in advance for either a 3 or 6 month subscription. A downloadable gift certificate is then emailed to you to send at the right time!
The boxes are well packaged to keep the ingredients & equipment safe until they arrive in your kitchen! The kits have a roughly 6 month shelf-life should you not wish to bake them straight away on arrival as well.
The kit I ordered was for chocolate orange (Jack O’Lantern) macarons, but as I made these a few weeks after Halloween I simply made these plain in their decoration! The kit contained: Macaron mix (60g ground almonds, 90g icing sugar), 33g meringue mix (sugar), chocolate orange filling (60g vegan chocolate and 5g orange powder), along with the reuseable macaron mould and piping bags.
The recipe card is extremely thorough, which you need when attempting a tricky patisserie classic like macarons! I have attempted making them a few times in the past, both times the meringue shells ended up either completely sticky or hollow in the centre! Fingers crossed with this level of virtual guidance I would have more success.
The first stage of the bake is to make the chocolate orange ganache filling. For this you add your double cream (one of the ingredients you have to supply as it is perishable!) to a microwave bowl and add the vegan chocolate and orange powder from the kit that is clearly labelled. The orange powder smelt amazing & I knew would make a delicious flavoured filling. This was heated in short bursts until smooth & glossy. Then I spooned it into one of the piping bags provided and left to cool.
The macaron shells are largely a meringue base, so the heat and cooking process is key to success. Therefore they give you two options, which if you know your oven well are really key choices. I made 2 batches and therefore tested out both temperatures and methods! Closed door but a lower temperature worked best in my oven.
The egg whites (the only other ingredient you have to provide – or aquafaba for vegans) are beaten with the meringue sugar mix until you have stiff peaks. Then you add the last bag of dry ingredients provided, the macaron mix and fold through. Once combined well, to the consistency shown in the video, this can be put into another piping bag ready. I really loved that you can see the consistency and technique through the additional video tutorial.
With the included macaron mould on a baking tray I piped the mixture and then tapped the tray firmly on the counter to remove any air bubbles in the shells. The tray must then be left to allow each shell to form a skin; the additional info that the time this takes is due to the humidity in the kitchen and how to check they skin is fully formed are great tips for the bake. The kind of thing you’d pick up at a face to face cooking class and often lack in normal recipes!
Once set, the macarons bake for 20-30 minutes and may need resting time if they don’t come off the tray easily straight away. Again this prevented me from making the mistake of rushing them and helped them come out really well! The silicone bakeware is great to allow you the flexibility to put it upside down and peel them off.
Once cooled, pair up the macarons and pipe in the chocolate orange centre before sandwiching together. If they last long enough, they can be stored in the fridge for 5 days and the recipe suggested they are actually better 24-48 hours later! The macarons go through ‘aging’ with softens the inside of the shells whilst maintaining that crisp outer! I never knew that before!
The Mon Dessert kit enabled me to bake macarons again, this time with much greater success! The inclusion of the baking equipment makes the kits extremely good value to expand your collection of professional bakeware alongside your skills. The instructions were very detailed & combined with the video tutorial I feel like it’s excellent tuition to enable you to succeed in producing show stopping desserts at home. I’m excited to see what I will learn next, although slightly intimidated that the next box is a croquembouche!!!! EEK!
Box baked: October 2020
Website: Mon Dessert