… but totally worth it! After popular demand – well, actually, on Lena’s request *hihi* – here is a recipe for Macarons de Paris. The original (and best) come from the well-known LaDurée in Paris. But since they’re not giving me their tips, I’m posting the Lenôtre-version, which is also a renown house. Now if you’re really lucky and all goes well, they should look like this at the end (depending of course on which of the many possible colors you use):
PART 1: THE COOKIES – basic recipe
– 250g powdered sugar
– 200g almond flour or finely ground almonds
– 130ml egg whites at room temperature
– 50g granulated sugar
– 2 tsp lemon juice
- Allow egg whites to thicken by leaving them uncovered at room temperature overnight.
- On three pieces of parchment, use a pencil to draw 2.5 cm circles about 5 cm apart. Flip each sheet over and place each sheet on a baking sheet.
- Push almond flour through a sieve, and sift the powdered sugar. Mix the almonds and powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside. If the mixture is not dry, spread on a baking sheet, and heat in oven at the lowest setting until dry.
- In a large bowl whip egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip to stiff peaks – the whites should be firm and shiny. Tip: add the lemon juice before whipping. This easens the stiffing better than the traditional pinch of salt!
- With a flexible spatula, gently fold in icing sugar mixture into egg whites until completely incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and “flow like magma.” When small peaks dissolve to a flat surface, stop mixing. Next tip:start in the middle of the mix and incorporate the sugar in a cycloid movement, turning the bowl counterclockwise (yes, french cooking is a science…).
- Fit a piping bag with a 1 cm round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets in the previously drawn circles. Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles. Let dry at room temperature for 1 or 2 hours to allow skins to form. Here, Lenôtre recommends to superpose 3 backing trays.
- Bake in a 150º C oven for 10 to 11 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, and rotate the baking sheet after 5 minutes for even baking (not necessary if you have circulating air). You do not want the cookies to brown, nor do you want them to bake too quickly.
- Remove the macaronsfrom the oven and transfer the parchment to a cooling rack. When cool, slide a metal offset spatula or pairing knife underneath the macarons to remove them from the parchment.
For different kinds, use this basic recipe and change as follows:
- For macarons à la vanille: replace the granulated sugar with vanilla sugar.
- For raspberry macarons: add pink food coloring to the egg whites, fill later with jam instead of butter cream.
- For macarons au chocolat: replace 50g of the powdered sugar with dark chocolate powder. As filling, use chocolate ganache.
- Miscelaneous: have fun with green coloring and pistacio almond paste, or coffee brown coloring and some nescafé flavoring…
PART 2: THE FILLING – butter cream
– 75cl milk
– 2 vanilla sticks
– 30g granulated sugar
– 30g vanilla sugar
– 60g egg yolks
– 250g butter at room temperature
- Cut open the vanilla sticks, scrape out the insides and boil the rest of the sticks with the milk and granulated sugar.
- Mix egg yolks with the vanilla sugar, then add to milk.
- Poach at 80° C, then let cool until room temperature is reached.
- Mix in butter until smooth and creamy.
PART 3: THE FINISH
Choose two pastries at a time that are similar in size. Smear some butter cream on one, sandwich with the other. Serve cool, impress your guests. Enjoy!