The colourful world of Macarons

What do you know about one of the most adored dessert in the world?

A macaron is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or “maccherone”. This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaron differs from macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea etc).

Although predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II.

In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron” and is the creation of Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.

Read more about macrones: http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/10/interview-with-macaron-specialist-dorie-green.html

Best macarons:

http://gridskipper.com/archives/entries/061/61929.php

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/25/macarons-pierre-herme

How to make them (recipes):

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008/09/making_french_macarons.html

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/10/how-to-make-macarons-recipe.html

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