Tag Archives: macarons

Macarons

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I think I’ll be posting about Paris for years to come. It’s good fodder when I’ve become so busy I don’t have time to take pictures. Also now that I have those lights, my dinner shots that I haven’t written about look so blah in comparison.

I had about 15 food related things mapped into our itinerary. Ladurèe and Pierre Hermè were the must sees. I’ve been having macarons here in Toronto and I wanted to try the Real Deal.

There’s an ongoing debate on which place has the better macaron, Ladurèe or Pierre Hermè (there’s a couple more that are in the mix, but most often it’s these two names that come up). So I had to try both and see.

First stop was Ladurèe. We were in the Champs Élysèes area (and snagged an awesome memento by purchasing a Peugeot pepper and salt grinder) so it was easy to fit into our schedule.

Laduree

Again, a line up almost to the door:

Laduree

I restrained myself and only got the macarons. I wish I had time to try all the other pastries here, they looked fantastic!

Laduree

I chose 6 flavours: chocolate, salted butter caramel, pistachio, raspberry, cassis, and rose. My order got messed up and I ended up with 2 chocolates instead of cassis. I usually judge how good a food is if R makes a comment about it. He’s not the kind of guy to roll his eyes in the back of his head while he moans about how great a food is. “That’s good.” were all the words that was spoken. That means he was very impressed with these macarons. My favourite was the salted butter caramel. The other macarons, in particular the pistachio and raspberry had a very intense flavour to them. I also didn’t find the macarons as sweet as others.

Pierre Hermè is right by Sacre Cour so it was also an easy destination to get to. It’s a much smaller shop than Ladurèe which is why the line up was out the door this time!

Macarons from Pierre Herme

Pierre Hermè is known for his macarons all sorts of interesting flavours that can’t be found elsewhere. Again I limited it to 6 flavours: salted butter caramel, olive oil and vanilla, rose petal, jasmin, cassis, and I can’t remember the other flavour.

The olive oil and vanilla was surprisingly tasty and another favourite was the rose petal one. But really, they were all good. I did find the macarons at Pierre Hermè slightly sweeter than Ladurèe’s. I also liked the salted butter caramel better at Laduree.

So who is the macaron winner here? I think if you’re looking for traditional macarons, Ladurèe is the one to go to and if you’re looking for new and interesting flavours to try (foie gras macaron anyone?) Pierre Hermè is the place to go. Because Ladurèe’s macaron are slightly less sweet, I prefer them over Pierre Hermè’s. But I would never pass up a chance to eat a Pierre Hermè macaron.

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Macarons – Simple, yet tricky

Macarons

After being tortured by beautiful photos of macarons by Tartelette, I finally had a chance to taste them from a place called Moroco. The tops shattered against the teeth and then led to a nice chewy interior. My friend who had tried macarons from Paris noted that these weren’t as sweet. She found the Parisian ones just too sweet for her that she could barely finish one. I sampled a few flavours and found the salted caramel one was my favourite. I really was planning on taking pictures, but I ate them all.

This macaron experience made me want to try making them on my own. I could make hundreds of different flavour combinations and they’re so visually appealing. Dainty and perfect. When I researched more about how to make them, it looked like they were very tricky to make. After looking at a bunch of different sites on the how to make them, I settled on Tartelette’s tutorial. I started off simple and didn’t add any fancy coloured powders or different flavours.

I started the macarons late so I wasn’t the most patient. I don’t have a food processor so I used my hand blender chopper and blended the icing sugar and the ground almonds in batches then whisked it all together. It’s really easy to put together as the ingredients are icing sugar, ground almonds, egg whites, and granulated sugar. It’s the technique that’s the tricky part. You fold the batter and test to see if it’s ready by putting a bit of it on a plate. If it goes flat, it’s good to go. Mine had a bit of a peak, but I couldn’t wait any longer and started piping them. You’re also supposed to wait an hour, but I made them so late in the night I could only wait 30 mins. The first batch turned out lobsided and cracked. My piping job was less than stellar. The second batch where I was more careful I was able to create only a handful of macaron sandwiches. I also let the shells sit overnight which made peeling them off the parchment much easier. If you try and peel away too soon, the macaron crumbles. The shells had the nice crispy shattering effect with a chewy interior and had the “feet” (the rough looking bottom) that people like to see on macarons. I used the leftover neoclassic milk chocolate buttercream as the filling. Straight from the fridge, the shells are a little hard these are best eaten slightly below room temperature so that the buttercream is still firm and tastes kind of like a soft milk chocolate bar. The macarons are also sweet. Movie Man finds them a touch too sweet for him and I can handle 2 at most. They’re best eaten with a strong cup of black tea to temper the sweetness. I think I’ll try reducing the sugar next time and see if that works. I think I read somewhere that increasing the almond flour also reduces the sweetness.

I would definitely try making these again. I think I just need practice to get the desired shape.

Resources:
Tartelette’s step-by-step tutorial from Dessert Magazine
Syrup and Tang’s comprehensive look at macarons. Many pictures in here were very helpful. I learned I had too much air in mine and I’ll try baking at a higher temperature.
David Lebovitz’s chocolate macarons. Probably the next recipe I’ll tackle.

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