Who is the real inventor of the French macaron, remains a secret, clouded in mystery since the first references of this delicious dessert start to appear in the medieval centuries.
There are several versions of its origines, all sounding plausibly true. Some scholars believe that the invention of this heavenly delight could be credited to the kitchens of women’t convent in Cormery, France. Others, link its origin with the arrival of Catherine de’Medici’s Italian pastry chef in 1533 in France on the occasion of her marriage to the king of France Henry II.
The exact origin of the French macaron may remain a mystery, but the exact recipe luckily for us is hardly so.
My first attempt for intimacy with this delicate dessert could not be described more flattering then a real failure. My husband, seeing my desperation after hours of frustrated attempts in the kitchen has surprised me on the following day with a gift of a digital balance to correctly measure all ingredients, whispering softly “Don’t give up”. At my second attempt, the whole kitchen seemed to have exploded in pink sticky meringue and even before the macarons were ready to enter the oven, my dearest one standing at the door frame was asking “Are you ready, yet? Can I start cleaning?”. The third attempt, worked like magic, and here they are rosy perfect, delicate and crispy round, my first ever successful French macarons.
What has made them right, I literally don’t know. Perhaps more patience, more practice, or indeed really not giving up? I will be delighted to discover more when I attempt to re-create them ones again.
For the macarons
- 150g slivered almonds
- 200g powdered sugar
- 115g egg whites at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 25g granulated sugar
- Food coloring optional
For the filling
- 150g Mascarpone
- 50g powdered sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Pulse confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
3. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
4. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 180 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 150 degrees.
5. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
6. Prepare the filling my mixing together the Mascarpone and the powder sugar. Fill the mixture in a piping bag and place an equal amount on one shell, toping it with other and pressing lightly to glue together.
7. Store in an airtight container for a couple of days.