Food fads may come and go, but a touch of confectionous class is for life. Hence, the delish magnificence that is the macaron. If the Greek word for ‘blessed’ is ‘makarios,’ then this is most definitely the niblet of the angels. The macaron of Paris is considered a delicacy - its batter composed of finely ground almonds, a snowy cascade of sugar, and feathery peaks of egg whites. Once the cream component has been cooked, the result is a dense, delectable dessert perfect for serving or scarfing on the sly.
a sweet back in time
The origin of the macaron remains a mystery even to confectioners today. Some believe the pastry to have originated in a European monastery while others claim it was introduced by two Carmelite nuns during the mega-tumult of the French Revolution. The macaron’s consistency has changed over time, morphing from a meringue-like texture to cream-laden and coconut-thick. The macaron, not to be confused with its more humbly dressed counterpart, the macaroon coconut drop cookie, is most definitely derived from the exquisite palace of Versailles, where the Sun King himself, Louis XIV was said to serve such temptees at his wedding.
un biscuit provencal
The French macaron is the prettiest peach in the pastry basket - resembling a springtime field of scrumptious psychedelia. These lady-like delights take on a smooch-worthy sandwich shape, filled with such melodious middles as buttercream bombast, ganache gorgeousness, and jelly jocundity. Macaron-making is considered an art-form by most in the biz. Some pastry chefs choose to age their cookies in the freezer - just for a mere couple of days, in order to allow the treat a chance to peak in both texture and flavor. Ideally, a proper macaron will don a shell-like, un-chasmed surface, with just a hush of a puff and a slight crackle on top. Eye-fetching presentation may include candy-lush cubes, picturesque pyramids, or extra-huggy rows.
spin the flavor wheel
Macarons have a similar taste to that of a truffle, with a dainty vs. crunchy juxtaposition of a disposition. Undeniably sweet, with a bit of chew to the texture, and a surprise onslaught of saveur depending on the middle, traditional kinds include coconut, coffee, vanilla, hazelnut, and dark chocolate ganache. Fruity fun flaves include cherry, lychee gelée, raspberry, lemon, date, and passion fruit. Holiday macarons may consist of pilgrimy pumpkin, or snow-globe peppermint cream and cocoa mousseline. Unique envelope-pushers include salted butter caramel, blackcurrant violet, rose-water butter cream, lavender caramel, mousse cassis, and even yuzu. Hungry for a challenge, high-end confectioners have even ventured into the world of the super-savory, experimenting with such ingredients as prosciutto and salmon eggs.
julia, macarons, and you
It’s a good thing macarons are cute because when it comes to temperature, they can be temperamental little fusspots. If you want to attempt to make the wee darlings at home, you most likely will need your oven at 120 C. If you happen to have an oven that’s more meek and mild, you may want to try 130 C, with a baking duration of 20 minutes.
Expect to be whipping your egg whites, (on average 6 tablespoons for a 16 sized batch) into nice, stiff peaks, and to fork out a bit o’cash for the powered almonds. Most recipes call for both granulated and confectioner’s sugar which will aid in the kitchen-chem phenomenon of caramelization. Macarons may be piped out from a star-shaped tip onto edible rice paper, situated on your baking tray, while those with nuts will need to be individually shaped. Keep an eye out for two of the dozen baker’s sins - overmixing of the batter and underbaking of the yum-yums themselves.
move over cake
Having once permeated the elite feasts of nobility and their courtiers, today’s macaron has most definitely caught both the eye and sweet tooth of many a couple-to-be. This orbital morsel continues to garner more and more attention, thanks to such high profile tube shout-outs as Oprah's O List, Gossip Girl, and Coppola’s ‘Maria Antoinette.’ So why not hop on this sugary-sweet, pastel-seeped bandwagon, and make your way to the top of all the dessert tiers.
Macarons can be easily incorporated into your wedding as fanciful party favors, decorous embellishment, or as part of the cake itself. They can be piled Jenga-style to create a fairytale topiary, nestled into a fondant cake exterior as patches of polka dots, or fashioned into a macaron croquembouche (taking the place of the traditional cake altogether). Top off a serving with a cup of tea or flute of champagne, and reap the benefits of such a versatile, oh-so portable, and fluffily pretty, palmful of sweetness.