The Real Macaron Company

Exquisite macarons for every occasion

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The Parisian Macaron

Despite having lived in France for a while, having studied and taught French for many years and being a fan of most things French, the Parisian macaron somehow passed me by until very recently. I remember coconut macaroons, pyramid- shaped and overly-sweet, that along with flapjacks, caramel slices and chocolate crispy cakes were the tea time treats of my childhood, but the delicious, delicate and delightfully pretty almond sort are a new-found pleasure. What started out as a cursory, motherly interest in my daughter’s culinary endeavours, has spiralled into a passion, – some may say, an obsession – and I find myself on a quest to create perfect macarons!

Preparing the macaron display for the wedding reception .

Everyone needs a challenge and, for now, this is mine! 

Le Dictionnaire LaRousse defines le macaron (from the Italian ‘maccarone or maccherone’) very simply as:

“Petit gateau rond, moelleux, a base de pate d’amandes, de blanc d’oeufs et de sucre qui peut etre parfume a la vanille, au cafe, au chocolat”,

which doesn’t really seem to do justice to these charming, sweet treats. It doesn’t say anything about the potential for rainbow colours or for a myriad of delicious fillings. It doesn’t mention the delicate little frill around the lower edge – the all important foot – or the smooth, domed, crisp top. It certainly doesn’t mention that making the perfect Parisian macaron is an art and a science, and that, despite the simplicity of the ingredients, the recipe and the technique present even the most practised of bakers and pastry chefs with frustrating challenges.

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Macaron or Macaroon?

Several well-meaning and  generally, well-informed friends have challenged me on the difference between a “macaron” and a ” macaroon”. I wasn’t sure myself at the outset, and we’ve certainly had some good-natured debates about it at home. My Oxford English dictionary defines a macaroon as ” a small light cake or biscuit made with white of egg, sugar and ground almonds or coconut” – the same simple ingredients required to make the somewhat more sophisticated macaron. It stands to reason, therefore, that the difference must be in the recipe and the all-important technique – the macaronage – that appears to be second nature to french pastry chefs.  My first, naive attempt at baking macarons certainly resulted in something more akin to a chunky, almond biscuit! A slightly wicked thought – but I can’t help wondering if the English macaroon evolved from the failure of yester-year cooks to master the Parisian macaron.
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chocolate macarons on silver dish