Macaroons, the small dessert that conquered the world
Small, fragrant and coloured, we are talking about Macaroons, small delicacies that became famous in the recent years conquering the most attractive counters of the world. From America to Europe, macaroons became the most wanted and appreciated desserts; besides this all the passionate and confectioneries invent pairings always more extravagant, exotic and unique. From mojito to mango, up to tonka beans.
What are macaroons?
They are fragrant and savoury desserts made of two shells similar to crispy meringues obtained with almond flour, egg whites, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. They are stuffed with exquisite ganache and jams. The shells called coques in French are flavoured and coloured with cocoa, dry fruit like nuts and pistachios and fruit as raspberries, strawberry, blackberry or apricot. The rich ganache that keep them together is in general made of dark, milk or white chocolate enriched with spices as vanilla, cinnamon or fruit jams.
The thousand colours of macaroons
Entering a confectionery with macaroons, you can’t resist them: hundreds of colours and the perfume of almond will tent you immediately. The most beautiful thing? Each colour corresponds with a flavour and a different pairing, for this reason you have to eat at least three or four pieces! French macaroons are famous for offering a wide range of flours. The most wanted? The most traditional are the one with raspberry, tangerine, chocolate and coffee, nut and pistachios. The most innovative macaroons are, instead green tea matcha, salted caramel, lemon and basil, violet.
The perfect macaroon!
The two coquets have a cupola shape, the surface is completely smooth without cracks or lumps, the edge has to be full of pleating and a flat base. The real macaroons lovers appreciate a delicate crust that make the sweet more humid and airy inside and a ganache soft but thick.
The history of macaroons
Are these small desserts really French? Actually the name derives from the Italian “maccarone” which derives itself from the verb “ammaccare” (in English, to dent). The legend want that the land of origin of these delicacies is Italy, Venice in particular and then exported to France in 1533 by Catherine de Medici.
Even if the French counterpart affirm that the recipe, actually, come from the culinary abilities of two nuns of the monastery of Dames du Saint-Sacrement of Nancy and dates back to the XVIII century.
Courtesans and royal women appreciated macaroons, so they landed on the other side of the Channel, becoming a fix date at five during teatime. The court of the Queen that launched this trend among the shining rooms of the European courts, in elegant living and polished confectioneries.
Chef Pierre Desfontaines created the modern shape of these crispy light almond meringues (two cupolas tied with a creamy filling) in 1930 and since that moment they have had a rising and tasty success.
Crispy outside and soft inside
The last advice if you are in the mood to prepare them at home: remind that the external shell has to be crispy, bloated and smooth, whereas the inner ganache has to be soft and velvety. Prefer natural food colouring than chemical one, for the flavour and the vibrant colour using fruit and spices. Finally prepare them in great quantity… they will be devoured!