Mmmm macaroons. This French delicacy is the creme of the crop when it comes to teatime snacks. The British may have finger sandwiches and scones, but the French do macaroons to perfection.A macaroon is an almond biscuit sandwiched together with ganache or fruit preserves. They come in a rainbow assortment of colours and flavours, from chocolate to rose via lemon and almond.
These bite-sized treats are available at every good patisserie, but for the official stamp of quality look no further than Ladurée. In 1862, Ernest Louis Laduree opened the original bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. Upon his wife’s advice, it was soon transformed into the venue par excellence for socialites to gossip over a cup of tea.
Pierre Lafontaine, Ernest’s heir, whisked up the first macaroon and the rest is history. Ladurée now has branches all over Europe and has evolved into France’s top bakery/tearoom/shop/restaurant/chocolatier.
Ladurée macaroons are so amazing because they are: A-beautiful, B- luxurious and C-delicious.
A box of macaroons makes the perfect souvenir gift from your trip to Paris – handy, since you can even pick them up from CDG airport.
If you’re not heading to Paris any time soon, here’s how to recreate the mini treats in your own home courtesy of the Daily Mail Online. Follow head chef Philippe Andrieu’s recipe for a chic tea party.
480g icing sugar
280g ground almonds
7 egg whites
A few drops of flavoured food colouring such as strawberry
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until you have a fine powder. Sift to remove any lumps.
3. Beat the egg whites, adding the food colouring as you go. Quickly and carefully add the almond-sugar mixture.
4. With a wooden spoon, mix from the centre of the bowl outwards, turning the container as you go. You want to achieve a smooth, lightly coloured mixture.
5. Using a piping bag with a centimetre-wide nozzle, pipe three centimetre-wide macaroons onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
6. Cook for eight to nine minutes, leaving the door of the oven slightly ajar.
7. Remove the macaroons from the oven. Pour a little water between the baking tray and the greaseproof paper – this makes the macaroons easier to lift off when they have cooled.
8. Sandwich the macaroons using marmalade, raspberry jam or whipped cream to serve.
TIP: Leave the finished macaroons for 24 hours in the fridge. This allows the flavours and texture to develop and intensify