When I think of the quintessential French pastry (or pastries in this case), I think of croissants smothered in jam, lemon madeleines, custard tarts, and – of course – macarons! Please understand mon amis, I’m not talking about American macaroons – the kind made from shaved coconut. But rather, I’m referring to the light meringue-like sandwich cookie filled with such tasty spreads as butter cream, lemon curd, and raspberry mousse.
Some girls aspire to find the perfect man, job, or even the perfect pair of shoes. I aspire to make a macaron. For the last few years, I have been reviewing magazines, cookbooks, and Web sites, looking for a macaron recipe that would be both simple and successful. I have to be honest, I have yet to find a really simple recipe for this simple, yet delicate cookie. Too picky? Maybe. Or maybe it’s that I’m intimidated by this French standard – one that is now fiercely gaining popularity in the US – quickly surpassing the cupcake – mon dieu! How could I not be intimidated by a cookie that is meant to be beautiful, elegant, and decadent all at the same time?
Despite my apprehension, my inner French girl prods me to follow this macaron-making aspiration. And, as French fate would have it, I was delighted to find that the latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine included what appears to be a very easy recipe, with step-by-step instructions on how to make authentic French macarons. Not only does the magazine provide written and pictorial directions, the magazine goes one step further, providing a video guide, featuring the spunky pastry chef Joanne Chang, on how to make the cookies and the ganache. Merci to Fine Cooking for recognizing that not all of us are born with the pastry chef gene.
So what am I waiting for? Nothing! Pardon moi, I have a date with egg whites, almond flour, and sugar. Only time, and a lot of patience, will tell if this will be a lasting relationship.