Sep 15, 2010

A macaroon success

Parisian Macaroons
What better way to start my blog than with the relating of my very first macaroon success story...
In July of last year, i travelled to France with three of my school friends. We spent four days in the gorgeous capital. On one of our many walks around the beautiful city, we came across a patisserie with a display of the most gorgeous macaroons.  Of course, despite the cost, i bought two of each flavour: vanilla, coffee, pistachio, strawberry, lemon and chocolate.  I savoured each of these little delights for as long as i possibly could. Ever since it has been my wish to be able to make macaroons as tasty and gorgeous as those i bought in Paris.  I have tried several recipes, several amendments to recipes and searched the intraweb for hints in my endeavour to make the perfect macaroon. EVENTUALLY, i succeeded. 

My dear friend, Robyn, who is now living in Adelaide, Aus, came to visit last week. She, also a foodie, brought me two of her precious magazines from Aus.  Guess what was on the front cover of the Aug/Sept 2010 issue of Sumptuous (, the  taste of South Australia?!  Macarons of course!!!  And inside, an article and recipe, which i couldn't wait to try! So, i did, yesterday.  It worked, perfectly... i could barely contain my excitement when i took the little beauties out of the oven :)  My dog, who happened to be in the vicinity was quite dumbfounded about the hugs and kisses she was receiving for no apparent reason! If there are any not-so-foodies reading this right now... i don't expect you to understand!

As much as i think that it is a fantastic recipe... the secret lies in the forming of a 'croute' or crust.  This i only learned a little while ago. While passing some time, waiting for my cars tyres to be changed, i perused a few recipe books in my favourite book store.  In Glamour Cakes, by Eric Lanlard, Hamlyn Books, June 2008 ( ), Eric Lanlard has a recipe for macaroons. In his recipe, he mentions the 'croute' to give the macarons their signature shape. Light bulb moment!!  

For the batch of macarons that i made yesterday using the Sumptuous recipe, i left the unbaked macarons to stand for 30 min before baking them. Et voilà! The perfectly shaped end product. Merci beaucoup Eric!  In other recipes that i have tried, it is mentioned that one should let them stand for 10-15 minutes before baking, but they don't mention why. In the Western Cape, esp. in Winter, because of the humidity, 15 minutes is not time enough for a crust to form. So, if you don't know what the 15 minutes is for, after you have waited the said time period, you will put them in the oven and expect perfection upon removal... so misleading... there is much to be said for well written and well explained recipes!

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