Well after a looong break I’m here again with some interesting facts now on everybody’s favorite, fancy and fashionable friend – Macaron…
I have to tell you the truth , my opinion of homemade Macarons are quite low. – Swing and a miss if you ask me… They look sad, bit shabby , crooked and just a general mess… I know what I’m talking about I had my own experiences with it and some of “Gastro-guru” friends of mine were experimenting as well.
Results ,leave Macarons to the experts , pastry chefs !
But since everyone is still hooked on them , I had the urge to find out more about these cute little things. We all heard about Laudrée and other famous houses making Magnificent , Colourful and Delicious Macarons , but does anyone know where are they from or how are they made into perfection…
The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the Italian meringue.
The macaroon is often mistaken as the macaron; many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.In a Slate article on the topic, Stanford Professor of Food Cultures, Dan Jurafsky, indicates that ‘macaron’ (also, “macaron parisien”, or “le macaron Gerbet”) is the correct spelling for the confection.
Although the macaron is predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, the macaron was served were served without special flavors or fillings.
It was not until the 1830s that macarons began to be served two-by-
two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron.” Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.
Since then, French Macaron cookies have been nationally acclaimed in France and remain the best-selling cookie in pastry retail stores.
In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years. In France, McDonald’s sells macarons in theirMcCafés (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).McCafé macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like Ladurée, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.
Outside of Europe, the French-style macaron can be found in Canada and the United States.
In Australia, Adriano Zumbo along with the TV series MasterChef have seen the macaron become a popular sweet treat, and it is now sold by McDonald’s in its McCafe outlets.
On an global level, March 20 marks “Macaron Day”. Created in 2005 in Paris by la Maison Pierre Hermé, it is a tradition that spread across the world. On this day, participating bakeries and macaron shops around the world offer customers one free sample macaron. A percentage of all additional macaron sales is donated to a local charity.
And in addition the Macaron’s recipe!
To create even-sized macarons, it is best to either create a template on greaseproof paper or buy a specially designed silicon macaron mat. My favourite mat comes from Lakeland in the UK.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Yield: Approx 10 – 15
- 100g / 1 cup icing sugar / ground almonds
- 2 medium, free-range egg whites
- Small pinch salt
- 55g / ¼ cup caster / fine sugar
- For the filling:
- 150g / 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 75 g / 2/3 cup icing / powder sugar
- Preparation :
- Sieve the icing sugar, followed by the ground almonds, into a large mixing bowl and carefully mix together.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster / fine sugar, a little at a time and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy (ideally, you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out – go on, I dare you !) Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, don’t worry, this is the way it should be.
- Using a piping bag with a 1cm / 1/3″ nozzle, fill with the macaron mixture. Place the silicon mat (see note in the introduction) or paper template onto a baking sheet. Pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle and form into the allotted spaces.
- Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes – the surface of the macaron will become smooth and shiny
- Bake the macarons in the preheated for 7 – 8 minutes minutes, open the door to release any steam, close the oven door and cook for a further 7 – 8 minutes. The macarons are cooked when they feel firm and are slightly risen.
- Slide the mat or greaseproof paper onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely Do not be tempted to remove the macarons from the mat until they are cold or you will break them.
- Make the Filling
- Beat the softened butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. At this point you can beat in any flavourings you may choose. See examples below.
- Place approx 1/2 a tsp of the filling to the flat side of one macaroon and sandwich together with another then twist ever so slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macaroons.
- The macarons can be eaten immediately but will benefit from being refrigerated for 24 hours (that’s if you can resist them for that long) as this will make them even more chewy and tasty.
Perfect for an Afternoon Tea , or perfect for your festive cooking.
Filling variations :
- For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavouring to the buttercream.
- Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavoured cream, use either food flavouring or finely ground, pistachio nuts. Alternatively, add a little coconut flavouring, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
- Purple, blueberry flavour is perfect.
- Cream coloured, use vanilla extract for an extra creamy flavour.
- Yellow, lemon works really well.
I think we can all agree they are hard to make , but since nothing is impossible, have a go , you might surprise everyone! 🙂
Till next time Everyone! 🙂