The Allure of a Parisian Macaron | Arts & Culture
First of all, I must apologize for my absence. It has been a lengthy month and I have been lost in a frenzy of flour, butter & eggs. Whipping up sweet treats for Bard and customers in various states has led my life into a more hectic than usual direction. The past week however, I have really settled into a groove, where I have even found time to revisit my most favorite and alluring thing to make: Parisian Macarons.
I first fell in love with these when I started watching Top Chef, Just Desserts. Please, do not laugh. I had never made them before as I usually stick to more comfort food type desserts and savory foods. But these little treats looked so beautiful and breath taking in there menagerie of various colors and flavors, how could I not fall in love with them instantly? I sat down the next day and googled macarons, the first thing I found was the great dispute over their spelling. A true macaron is spelled just as I have done it here and of course has the defining elements such as the wonderfully smooth dome and little popped up "feet". The other thing I found was that macarons are notorious for their level of difficulty. I read at least three articles stating the person making them had to do so ten times prior to getting the proper shape. There are many factors involved in this such as temperature of the egg whites, the way in which they are folded, how course or fine your almond flour happens to be. I mean, truly a million things can wreck your plan for perfect little bite sized pillows of goodness.
Rubbish, I thought. Absolute rubbish. It's egg whites...how difficult can it really be?
Well, these people on the Internet knew exactly what they were talking about. Macarons are a no joke business.
I went through maybe twenty batches, and yes, they came out fine and still were delicious but the dome was not as I wanted it to be. I wanted it to look like the pictures. I wanted it to be spectacular. My family, well, mostly my husband, had to explain to me that no, maybe they don't look like they do on television but that's ok. Then I yelled at him and told him to leave my kitchen when meant he never argued about my persistance again.
Finally, I figured it all out. It comes down to folding your meringue just enough so that you can pipe it and when you release the point the dome settles to create a smooth top. Your meringue can not be too stiff, otherwise you get peaks, which will bake as peaks and provide you with the opposite of what you want. Now, I am proud to say that the macarons that leave my kitchen are stellar and just as you see above. Small, slightly nutty in flavor and delicious.
They are by far, my most favorite thing to whip up in my kitchen and this week with my free time I made some for my family & friends.
Today's flavor: Salted Caramel with Fleur de Sel & Chocolate Ganache Filling.
To me, the macaron is an inspiring dessert. Eating with our eyes is something we all do and when I see a box of these in various colors, I immediately get excited for what I am about to dive into. There are just so many possibilities. So many flavors to make. So many ways to decorate.
Anyways, there are no bakeries around here that sell macarons and when I do eventually open up a store front, I plan for them to be the star of the show. I want to bring a little bit of Paris to Portland and share with the world the excitement that these bring to my life.
Yes, sometimes they make me want to throw a sheet pan across my kitchen but most of the time, it's good.
In January, I am planning to host a workshop on how to make these treats for yourself so stay tuned!
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