Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Dalliance with a Hot Pink French Macaron

With all my pastry affairs, it’s surprising I’d never hooked up with a French macaron.   I mean, I’ve gone hot and heavy with everything from homemade Twinkies to Lady Baltimore Cake.  It was high time I experienced the lusty passion of the French Macaron.

The encounter takes place at the Institute of Culinary Education during their “Macaron Mondays” program.   Chef Instructor Kathyrn Gordon is the co-author of “Les Petits Macarons” and knows the allure of the perfectly French sandwich cookie.  She’s spent years researching and baking macarons.

Chef Kathryn walks us through the basics of macaron amour. It’s actually a simple set of four ingredients – almond flour, confectioners sugar and granulated sugar, combined with egg whites whipped into a meringue.   Yet the conditions have to be right.  Too much whipping, too much baking, or too much humidity can destroy the relationship.  Subtlety is key to any relationship
She quickly pipes out some quarter-sized macarons decorated with Jackson Pollack-style splashes of color, and explains that during the French Revolution, nuns baked macarons as a nutritious alternative to meat. Sounds like my kind of religious order.
You’re looking for a classic figure in a macaron – a shiny, thin shell, with a “foot” around the shell – that slightly rough edge that meets the filling. 

I team up with a woman named Laura who I’ve just met and we get to work.  We have our choice of colors and fillings, and she makes a passionate plea to color our macarons hot pink and fill them with strawberry guava filling.   It’s just a little frou-frou and a very Pop Art choice, but when it comes to macarons, you might as well go all the way.
Perhaps I’m besotted, but I think our macarons are some of the prettiest and shapeliest in the class.
So here’s the thing about baking macarons.  You have to be ready for a long courtship.   A freshly baked macaron tastes hard and crunchy.   You must “age” macarons in the freezer.  The cookie and the filling need time to meld and develop that characteristic soft, chewy texture.  It’s only a temporary delay.  The deep freeze does nothing to chill the desire. 
This is not a one-night stand.  I’ll be back for more.  Love.  

©2014 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved  


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I learned so much. First, I didn't know much about the process of making macaroons and certainly didn't know you had to wait for them to age. Yikes, I want mine now!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Gorgeous! I'd go for pink any day.

Gloria Baker said...

I love your macarons T.W. and look beuatiful! I have to make some day I never made!
Always I find really pretty!!

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., Oh La La!!!
I see you have mastered the art of the French lover!!
That macaroon responded perfectly to your culinary desires.
Blessings, Catherine

Laura Luciano said...

Oh my absolute Favorite. A macaroon is something I would like to try and make. You can add the to your running list when you come to Sheridan Green: Canning, Macaroons, I will provide the much needed libations. :)

~~louise~~ said...

I've never baked a Macaron in my life. As a matter of fact, I always thought they were spelled macaroon:) They look delightful and I sure can understand how you would fall in love with their existence.

Thank you so much for sharing, T.W...

Deana Sidney said...

I agree, I've never baked them in my life but love the way they look. They are a bit too sweet for me!

Anonymous said...

The colourful different filled macarons look amazing! I have not challenged myself yet to make these beauties!

What a fun class this must have been though! :) MMMMMMMM!

Tammy said...

Ooooh a French Dalliance! Reminds me of my old blog...that was the name of it :D ...I have never attempted to make my own macarons, but I would love to get up the courage and try them. I will remember to chill them first before serving.

BTW, homemade Twinkies are the bomb! :D I need to find a Twinkie pan and give those a whirl too!