Macarons

Macarons – The cookie of choice for the French!

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This is a French Macaron (\ˌma-ka-ˈroh\)
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Delicate and airy, the French Macaron has an almond, sugar and egg whites-based shell. The shells have a light, crunchy texture on the outside and are slightly chewy on the inside. These shells are held together by a filling, typically made from a ganache butter-cream, meringue or jam.
France is indebted to Italy for introducing this delicate pastry to France.  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 term “macaron” has the same origin as the word “macaroni” — both mean “fine dough”, however; macarons are simple cookies, made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites.
Ladurée macarons. Flavors: coffee, pistachio, orange blossom and rose. Photo by Violetta363.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that the Macaron became two cookies with a “chocolate panache” filling to stick them together.  This was the idea of the grandson of Louis Ernest Laduree who established the French luxury bakery and sweets maker house in 1862. The patisserie Ladurée is considered one of the best shops in the world for sweet confectionary.  It is one of the world’s best-known premier sellers of the macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day.

Traditional flavors include vanilla, chocolate, raspberry and coffee and pistachio, but today these little pastries are available in astonishing flavors!

French macarons from Laduree Paris Ladurée

There are two methods to making a macaron – the “French” method and the “Italian” method. The difference between the two is the way the meringue is made – either Italian or French meringue can be combined with ground almonds.  A point to be made:  If it is at all damp outside or raining – use the Italian way.

French Meringue Method: consists of sugar, almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites.

Italian Meringue Method: consists of sugar, almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites as well. However, the almond flour and powdered sugar are glued together by using additional egg whites.

Below is a recipe from a French Chef in Paris that holds cooking class for those interested in the fine technique of baking macarons.

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    Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

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