Monday, 10 January 2011

French Macarons

My plan over the Christmas/New Year break, apart from spending oodles of time playing with my gorgeous children and catching up on some long awaited house work, painting, patching and generally cleaning up the mess that tends to accumulate over a year, was to test my culinary skills and master French Macarons (french spelling for Macaroons).
I was first introduced to these little delights when I used to visit my brother who lived in Zurich, many years ago and have only now managed to find a recipe so I could try making them for myself, especially as it's an awfully long way to go for a little French sweet!
These little treasures have a reputation for being temperamental, and so I have been reading up on making them through various blogs by top chefs, many of which also found them to be rather difficult to make.
Unfortunately, however, I had been struck down with illness and didn't manage to leave the house for 2 weeks, so I wondered if my Macaroons might become a distant dream.
Finally, after the children went back to school and I was able to catch up with items pushed to the side and cleaning up my work room, it was time to revisit these mystical little treats, especially as we were dining with friends on Saturday night.
I got out all my notes and re-read them to make sure I knew what I was doing, even though I kept receiving a deluge of questions from my children who kept popping in to see if I had made them yet, every 3 minutes!
Four and a half hours later, and two different recipes, I emerged like I'd had a fight with a snowball covered in icing sugar and the kids faces and hair covered in chocolate ganache, triumphant, offering two types of Macarons; Almond and Pistachio filled with chocolate ganache. They looked so luscious, but tasted even better, that I decided as they quickly melted in my mouth, to take a photo before they disappeared completely.

Seeing as these were my first attempt and I am determined to get them perfect, I have decided not to post the recipe until I am completely satisfied and confident to share with you. But as soon as I do, I will post them here.
The pink ones (almond) were my first batch and the recipe wasn't as good as the second green ones which are pistachio filled with chocolate ganache and these (mostly) came out looking pretty good with little feet on them. I would have filled the pistachio meringues with white chocolate and pistachio ganache but ran out of time, instead I just used what was left from the pink ones.
And felt pretty chuffed with myself, head held high as I thrust my delicious cake plate filled with candy coloured french treats as I entered Cathie and Gareth's house for dinner.

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