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Monday, April 13, 2015

Adventures in Macarons

One of the highlights of our last trip to Paris was a stop at the iconic Ladurée for arguably, the best macarons in Paris, if not the world. 

The Champs Elysées location


So many pretty colors and delicious flavors. 


So, when I saw that my local continuing ed program offered a course in The Art of the French Macaron, my heart skipped a beat. I know they're trendy, and I know they are a Parisian cliche, but I love them. That meringue melts in your mouth. What's not to love? 

And to think... I could make them at home? A taste of Paris in my own kitchen? 

Oui, se il vous plâit. 

Our guide for the evening was food writer turned culinary school graduate and chef, Sherry Belotti

"My food philosophy is simple," Belotti says on her web page. "There is nothing better than fresh food, prepared well and shared with others." And, indeed, these were lovely. 


Chef Sherry's samples.

The evening began with a tasting plate for us to sample, and a demonstration of how to make the meringue that would serve as the base for the macaron. 


Sherry explains the importance of separating eggs using three bowls to ensure that no yolk fat contaminates the whites and prevents them from forming their critical peaks. 

Macaron batter is a simple mixture...egg whites, almond meal/flour, granulated sugar, and powered sugar....and a smidgen of cream of tartar to help with the meringue. 



But the result is nothing short of magic. 



Then it was time to pipe. 



Once the macarons were piped onto the parchment paper, thanks to a pre-drawn template, they were set aside to dry. 

Tip from Sherry: Draw yourself a template or buy your silicone tray inserts pre-drawn. 

And then it was our turn. With Sherry by our side, we separated our eggs, ground our almond meal and mixed our batter. 

Tip from Sherry: Ground your almond meal with half of your powdered sugar to avoid turning your almond meal into paste. 

I chose an orange macaron that I would later fill with berry butter cream. 

Folding the batter, careful not to over mix. 

I piped like a champ....well, after the first couple. 


Then mine were ready to dry. 


It took a while, but finally, my macarons were ready to bake. 

Tip from Sherry: Don't bother trying this in humidity. It will amount to little more than an exercise in frustration. 

Once the macarons had cooled, I removed them from the parchment and voila! 
They were perfect, and ready to fill. 



I filled them with butter cream and a reduced berry compote that Sherry had made before class. They were si délicieux! Ladurée, no, but it was a taste of Paris in my own kitchen. 


If you're within driving distance of central Massachusetts or southwestern New Hampshire, check out any of Sherry's classes, including this macaron class, cooking with herbs, using your new Himalayan salt block, and Mexican fare for Cinco de Mayo. 

This was a lot of fun, informative, and empowering. 

I can't wait to see what comes next. 

Have you ever made macarons? What is one recipe that is daunting, but you would love to make?



32 comments:

  1. They came out beautifully! What a neat experience!

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  2. I haven't but I would LOVE to - have them made regularly for me. ;) - because I know I'd screw up a recipe with so many steps. But this and these images look amazing! Now I wish I bought one yesterday at Caribou Coffee. Though it probably wouldn't have been as yum.

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  3. I've never tried one before but they look delicious. Paris has always been a dream of mine!

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  4. They look great! I'm glad there was a class close by that you could take advantage of.

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  5. I definitely need some of these in my life!

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  6. I love the colors of macarons! What a fun experience for you - I'm sure you'll make them over and over.

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  7. Stephanie_The_Recipe_RenovatorApril 13, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    I have always wanted to make tamales but thought they were too much work. I finally did over Christmas with friends, and then just did my own grain-free version last week. I love the feeling of accomplishment. Your macarons are beautiful!

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  8. i just LOVE macaroons! I've had them in Greece, but not France

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  9. You know me...this foodie...has never had one!

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  10. Love love this post. Having become a rabid Francophile recently, I have taken an interest in macaroons, and Ladurée macaroons are the best. I love sweets of which you really do need just a bit and you're happy. Just one Ladurée with coffee, the best. Hmmm, a macaroon class...


    Anita

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  11. Thank you, Jill! I had a great time. And they were delicious!

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  12. That not as hard as you think, Andrea. One day, give them a try. They're worth it. :-) And never pass up the opportunity for a macaron. Yum!

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  13. They are delicious! And not terribly difficult to make. I hope you make it to Paris. It's such a wonderful city. We love it there.

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  14. I am too. I am going to take another one of her classes. She's very knowledgeable and a lot of fun: a winning combination.

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  15. They're worth it. A spring project maybe? Enjoy!

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  16. I do too, Sharon. This was so much fun. I don't have the ideal equipment to make them at home, but it was wonderful to have the experience of making something I enjoy so much.

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  17. Thank you, Stephanie. Your grain free tamales look wonderful. I had so much fun making them. They are worth every minute of work.

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  18. I do too. I didn't know they had them in Greece. They're delicious!

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  19. They're fabulous. They're gluten free but not nut free, as they are made with almond meal. They are my favorite!

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  20. I agree, Anita! Francophile here too. Paris is such a beautiful city. I will never turn down an opportunity to go. I'm so happy you enjoyed this .

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  21. Oh my goodness Kelly! I adore macarons so much! I have a recipe lined up too for this week wow what a coincidence! I love the pics in this one wowzers! Oh you lucky girl! I would have loved to taken that class! I absolutely adore this post! <3 sharing now!

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  22. I just had a macaroon for the first time last year, they always looked weird but I as pleasantly surprised.

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  23. Thank you for this post! I may have to try making my own macarons one of these days. They can be pricey to purchase - especially when it feels necessary to purchase an entire box because you need one of every flavor to devour! ;)

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  24. That looks like an incredible class! I don't believe I've ever tried macarons (gasp!), there's a French pastry shop near us I'll have to make sure I try them.

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  25. I could use some sugar right about now! These look great!

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  26. Thank you, Bianca! They're SO good! I hope can enjoy one soon.

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  27. It was so much fun, Rachel. I love meringue, so these are right up my alley. I hope you like them. Lucky you to live near a French pastry shop.

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  28. They are pricey. They take time, but they're relatively simple. I agree with trying one of everything. How else could you find your favorite? ;-)

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  29. It was so much fun. I love meringue, so these are right up my alley.

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  30. Thank you, Carolann! <3 It was such a fun class. Check your local continuing ed programs...maybe there's a macaron class in your future. :-)

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  31. I was so glad to finally learn about your macaron making. It looks like you have an awesome time and they look gorgeous!

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  32. It was such a good class and they were delicious! Thanks so much, Ashley!

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