My adoration of French macaroons began two summers ago while visiting my sister, Lindsay, in Paris. We made a habit of opting out of the breakfast our hostel provided each morning and instead visiting the local patisserie for a pastry or more often than not a pistachio macaroon.
I have yet to find a macaroon in America that compares to those from Paris, although I believe the following recipe comes close. The mark of a good macaroon is a paper thin crust that breaks apart with the slightest touch and encases a soft and dense almond center. If made correctly, you will see a distinct and rough border around the bottom of the macaroon and a smooth dome top. The cookies are usually sandwiched with either jam, pastry cream, or chocolate.
My sister and I visited Laduree Patisserie on the Champs Elysees and had the opportunity to taste their macaroons. Macaroons come in a variety of colors and flavors and can be very dramatic when displayed.
Macaroons are extremely delicate and are best enjoyed fresh the day they are made, although will last about a day in the fridge. You can freeze macaroons before sandwiching them, although I would only recommend this method if used for decoration.
I decided to try to replicate the rose macaroon I had tasted on my trip to Vegas. My friend, Amy, has just given me bottles of rose water and orange blossom water so I decided to test out both these in my recipe today.
1 1/2 oz Water
3 1/2 oz Egg Whites
8 3/4oz Almond Powder
8 3/4oz Powdered Sugar
3 1/2oz Egg Whites
1. Sift the almond powder and powdered sugar together and mix with the first measurement of egg whites. This mixture with be very thick and dry at first, but will come together in a nice paste.
2. In a small pot with a candy thermometer attached to the side, bring the sugar and water to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Begin whisking the second measurement of egg whites when the sugar reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit so that the whites will be at stiff peaks by the time the sugar is at the desired temperature.
4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, begin slowly pouring into the whites (continuing to whisk in mixer). Continue mixing until the meringue is shiny in appearance.
5. Fold the meringue into the almond powder mixture in three stages. The first fold will lighten the paste and decrease deflation of the egg whites with the second and third fold.
6. At this stage I separated my batch into two bowls to add my food color. I dyed the first batch orange (orange blossom) and the second pink (rose water).
7. Pipe small quarter sized rounds on parchment paper that has been sprayed. It is important that the macaroons are identical in size so that you may later sandwich them. Make sure to leave space between the piped macaroons to allow for spreading.
8. This next step will ensure that your macaroons have the desired crust and the rough border on the bottom. It is also the easiest step. Allow the piped macaroons to "rest" for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Leave them at room temperature during this time.
9. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes or until their is a distinct crust on the bottom when turned over. Allow to cool
3 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
9 egg yolks
2 Tbs Orange Blossom Water
1/2 tsp Orange extract
1 1/2 Tbs Rose Water
1. Combine sugar with the milk over heat and bring to a boil.
2. In bowl, whisk together yolks and cornstarch.
3. Once milk comes to a boil, temper egg mixture with heated milk mixture. Pour a small amount of hot milk over yolks while whisking to incorporate. Add more milk and continue to whisk.
4. Bring the rest of milk mixture to a boil, then add the egg mixture, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Mixture will thicken and begin to bubble when ready.
5. Remove from heat, add butter and stir to combine. Add flavorings.
5. Pour mixture into a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap touching the pastry cream. Place in fridge to solidify.
Once the pastry cream has cooled, pipe between two macaroons and sandwich them together. Yum!