Macaron madness

My recent cupcake craze has been overtaken by a new obsession… macarons.  I first fell in love with macarons in Paris, at a patisserie in the 2nd arrondissement, across the street from the tiny apartment where we spent our first week in Europe.  My very very limited french ‘Je voudrais un croissant’ and a bit of sign language just wasn’t working, so another friendly customer was kind enough to translate that I would like one of each flavour of mini-macaron.

With a coffee from Starbucks (I know very sad but we couldn’t find a good coffee near our apartment), we sampled the 6 flavours, and my only regret was not returning for more before leaving Paris.  From the first bite through the crisp shell into the gooey centre I was hooked.

Luxirare’s recent post on the macarons from Laudree got me thinking that we may have missed out on the best that there was on offer in Paris.  Oh it makes me dream of another European trip.

photo from: luxirare

On the weekend the boy and I stopped at Chouquette, a french patisserie in New Farm that we have been meaning to visit for ages.  We had several failed attempts before realising it was closed for the entire month of January.  Needless to say, it was definitely worthwhile when we finally coordinated our visit with their opening hours.

I was hanging out to try their macarons, and we arrived just in time to snap up one of the last remaining, an orange shell with yellow filling.

photo from: my iphone

Although it was a very difficult decision, we also chose a ‘crumble aux pommes’, which of course looked delicious.

photo from: my iphone

Despite the lack of space due to the miserable weather, we enjoyed a fantastic coffee with our treats, and pondered over the flavour of the macaron.  I thought that it was passionfruit but the boy was thinking mandarin.  After much debate, we asked the lovely french staff, who informed us that it was actually mango, one of our favourite fruits.  It was a fantastic flavour for a macaron.

I went home inspired to try my hand at making my own macarons… that is, until I started reading how difficult they are to make.  I actually didn’t realise the macaron craze went past my own head until I came across a whole lot of food bloggers that had attempted their own macarons.

Tartelette may be one of those responsible for spreading the macaron frenzy, with hers looking so perfect and delicious, not to mention the AMAZING food styling and photography on her blog.  Each and every post is perfection and she really sets a high standard for us to aspire to.  She provides a great explanation of how to make the perfect macaron, however judging by the comments and posts from other people, it may not be as easy as it looks to get those perfect ‘feet’.

photo from: tartelette

These, in gorgeous shades of pink are from a blog I have only recently discovered, Mowielicious.  It is full of fantastic desserts and excellent food photography!

pic from: Mowielicious

Although I started with a great confidence in my ability to make macarons, the more I read the more I am doubting myself, however I have picked up what seems to be some essential tips along the way:

  • age your eggwhites (I put them out at room temperature last night)
  • sift everything (I am so bad at this I actually don’t think I own a sifter)
  • be patient, they need to rest for at least an hour before going into the oven
  • don’t understir, don’t overstir – it seems this balance is what people get wrong as no one really knows what is meant by ‘the consistency of lava’

Armed with these tricks, a huge number of recipes to sift through, and some powdered food colouring (I finally found it at spotlight Aussies) my egg whites have been weighed and are being left out for the first attempt on Sunday.  Then I will have time to refine the process before my mum’s party on valentine’s day – I am thinking red macarons with vanilla bean buttercream, and white/plain macarons with pink (maybe strawberry?) buttercream filling.

Wish me luck… I think I need it!

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