What could better represent the French patisserie nowadays than a macaroon. Ladurée, Pierre Hervé and Fauchon have become household names. The maracon 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 it is Italian. Don't tell the French though!
The macaron's origin isn't clear, but it may have been brought to France from Italy as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici and her pastry chefs. Macarons gained fame in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution baked and sold macarons in order to support themselves, thus becoming known as "the macaron sisters."
I am a firm believer that the French are mounting an amazingly efficient marketing campaign around this little delicacy in order to ward off the quintessential American cupcake that is becoming more and more popular in France. However, the French could never admit that an American invention could invade their local cuisine.
With all this in mind I decided to enroll Expat girl and myself in a cooking class to discover the secret of Parisian macaroons. We were not disappointed. Within two hours we had whipped up the most delicious orange pineapple-coconut macaroons followed by pink raspberry-white chocolate macaroons. Trust me it is worth trying and it is NOT impossible, no matter what the French tell you. You can do it!!!
La cuisine is in the basement...
...very romantic setting eventhough you can hear the metro running by every now and then!
The secret are the ingredients...
a light handed application
an ounce of patience