Today is National Macaron Day. The macaron seems more like a French treat. But there are some think that the macaron is the next cupcake.
|Larher: Chocolate, Coffee, Citron, Pistache
|Laduree: Chocolate raspberry, Citron, Vanilla
|PAUL USA: Vanilla, Raspberry, Citron, Coffee, Pistache
A macaron is a sweet confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond flour and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. Its name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or “maccherone”. This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”), and flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth.
Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new flavor concoctions such as truffle, green matcha tea. The fillings can range from jams, ganache, or buttercream. Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling of the cookie/biscuit. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are the same. It seems that the coconut macarron is less intimidating to make, at least for me.
Although predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France. In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron” and is the creation of Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.
It seems this little sweet treat is taking the world by storm. Macarons can be found in Europe, Japan, and even in South Korea. Each country adding local flavors to suit their tastes. There are even macarons in McDonalds in France.
I bought macarons for my own “research”. I bought macarons from Laduree, Arnaud Larher and PAUL, and Lenotre. My favorites were the coffee, pistache, and the caramel with fler de sel. Of course, if I was offered any other flavor I certainly not turn one down.
Now I just have to through caution to the wind and make them.