Monday, October 26, 2009
In the Mood for Love....and Macaron....The Macaron Series!
The most exquisite form of a pastry that carry a fashion statement, it is almost impossible to not be in the mood for Macaron. The truth is that I fell for them too like most connoisseurs, after discovering Parisian-style macarons as I strolled pass the jewels-decorated cases of Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, I became a victim of this fashion trend when I am known not to be a meringue fan. With a two-day half life, and the reluctance to devour the pieces of art, my very first box of such gems was framed as the decor in my refrigerator. One bite was all it took to elevate it from a simply an exquisite piece of art, into a culinary adventure, as your teeth sink through the crisp egg shell-like crust, the soft fluffy interior, a slight crunch from the pied, then finally the indulgent flavourful centre.
In its purest form, the macaron is a confection composed of finely ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar. The word is a derivation of the Venetian macarone, meaning “fine paste”. The recipe traveled through France and varied regionally, but the ingredients and the basic construction remained consistent. A layer of buttercream, ganache, or jam was spread between two meringue disks.
In the early 1930 the tearoom and pastry-shop Ladurée in Paris started selling the new creation of Pierre Desfontaines, grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée: two traditional dome halves sandwiched with a sweet filling between: the ganache.
In the mid-nineties Ladurée raised the bar with the help of a consultant, Pierre Hermé, a pastry master who added compelling flavor combinations, such as lime-basil and violet-cassis, to the shop’s offerings. Among Ladurée’s newer creations, a caramel version prepared with beurre salé has been especially esteemed. Every season Parisians fervently await the shop’s innovations.
Hermé, who now has seven boutiques in Tokyo and three in Paris, says the macarone itself is merely a medium for new flavors. With his philosophy, I have decided to throw myself into this adventure of my own....a bi-weekly invention of my flavour combinations.
To debut this Macaron series, I will introduce you to the "le macaron noir", as the link to my earlier article "All Blacked Out!"
~ sésame macaron à la crème de sésame noir ~
Please do re-visit for recipes and my inventions!