In her kind mention of The Frog Blog's premier anniversaire, Erin at Run Around Paris mentioned that in her upcoming trip to Paris, she will be
"doing some research and an entire post on my quest for macarons for Paris Breakfasts."Ah! Macarons! One of Louis la Vache's favorite treats - and very popular in France. Louis la Vache hopes that Erin will forgive him for posting his own research on macarons - he doesn't want to deprive Erin of her fun, but for those of you who cannot visit Paris, here is what Louis has learned. In any case, Erin can still munch her way through the boulangeries-pâtisseries de Paris and form her own opinion of the perfect macaron.
Don't confuse Macarons de Paris with what aux États-Unis are called coconut macaroOns - note the small difference in spelling.
Many of us think of macarons as being vraiment français, but (shhhh! don't tell anyone!) this delicate pastry actually originated in Italie! It is widely believed that the Venetians discovered the macaron during their seafaring voyages in the Renaissance era, and that the chefs of Catherine de Medici brought the recipe to France at the time of Catherine's marriage to Henri II. The term macaron has the same origin as that of the word "macaroni" - both mean "fine dough".
The first macarons were simple cookies, made from almond powder, sugar and egg whites. Many towns throughout France have their own prized tale surrounding this dessert. In Nancy, the granddaughter of Catherine de Medici was supposedly saved from starvation by eating them. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz the macarons of chef Adam regaled Louis XIV and Marie-Therése at their wedding celebration in 1660. Outside of Paris, this simple style is still the mainstay macaron.
In Paris it was only at the begining of le XX ème siècle when the macaron became a "double-decker" affair. Pierre Desfontaines, owner of the famous Ladurée pâtisserie in Paris, got the idea of placing a layer of cream between two single macarons while on a trip to Switzerland, thus the macaron de Paris. Macarons in the form of a cream-filled cookie are now commonly found in pâtisseries throughout Paris, in flavors as standard as vanilla, chocolate and coffee to those as exotic as rose and tea. But purists can still find the original almond-flavored pastries in food shops around town.
Macarons de Paris have become even more popular in recent years and boulangeries-pâtisseries, such as Gérard Mulot in the VI ème in the shadows of Saint-Sulpice experiment with unique flavors. For example, Mulot makes a marvelous orange-cannelle, orange-cinnamon, macaron.
With the recent increase in the popularity of macarons de Paris, pâtissiers have been offering more sizes. The traditional size is about 2.25 centimetres, or 1 inch, but now many shops offer bite-size macarons of about 1.25 centimetres, half an inch, as well as huge macarons of 10 centimetres diameter, about 4 inches.
If you find yourself in Paris and are able to visit the splendid épiceries in Galeries Lafayette on boulevard Haussmann or in Le Bon Marché on the rive Gauche, or Fauchon or Hédiard on Place Madeleine, you will find bountiful assortments of macarons de Paris from which to choose.
For those of you unable to visit Paris, but willing to try your hand at making macarons de Paris in vôtre-même cuisine, Louis la Vache offers this recette:
Macarons de Paris
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 oz (1 cup) almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps egg whites at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Allow egg whites to thicken by leaving them uncovered at room temperature overnight.
2. On three pieces of parchment, use a pencil to draw 1-inch (2.5 centimetre) circles about 2 inches apart. Flip each sheet over and place each sheet on a baking sheet.
3. Push almond flour through a sieve, and sift the powdered sugar. Mix the almonds and powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside. If the mixture is not dry, spread on a baking sheet, and heat in oven at the lowest setting until dry.
4. In a large clean, dry bowl whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip to stiff peaks - the whites should be firm and shiny.
5. With a flexible spatula, gently fold in icing sugar mixture into egg whites until completely incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and "flow like magma." When small peaks dissolve to a flat surface, stop mixing.
6. Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch (1 cm) round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets in the previously drawn circles. Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles. Let dry at room temperature for 1 or 2 hours to allow skins to form.
7. Bake in a 300 º F oven for 10 to 11 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, and rotate the baking sheet after 5 minutes for even baking. You do not want the cookies to brown, nor do you want them to bake too quickly.
8. Remove the macarons from the oven and transfer the parchment to a cooling rack. When cool, slide a metal offset spatula or pairing knife underneath the macarons to remove them from the parchment.
9. Pair macarons of similar size, and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon of the filling (recette suivant) onto one of the macarons. Sandwich the macarons, and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend together. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into slices
1. In an electric mixer bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and heat the mixture, whisking often, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it feels warm and sugar has dissolved.
2. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer and whip warm egg mixture on high speed using the whisk attachment until stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the butter, one slice at a time, and continue to mix until all the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Add any flavorings and refrigerate for 1 hour or until it becomes firm. The buttercream can be kept, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
This post is also found at The Frog Blog of Louis la Vache
Plus de recettes:
Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries