Saturday, February 12, 2005

Double Happiness

Last week, I was invited to a Valentine's-themed dinner party where guests were asked to bring something in a shade of red and to wear something to match. There was borscht as the main, plenty of cheese, bread and chutney, and a little too much red wine for a school night. I brought dessert, of course. I knew Reema had been invited and I correctly assumed she would bring a cake. In this case, it turned out to be a deluxe "Red Velvet" cake, with a hint of chocolate and a very creamy buttercream icing, and it was delicious. This left me with the sides (yes, there are sides when it comes to dessert). I made raspberry rose ice cream and also brought some "cigarettes" I had made at school. Okay, I didn't make them: mine turned out less than presentable, so I asked one of my classmates for theirs. In any case, the combination went perfectly with the cake. Anthony was not able to make it to the dinner, so I saved him some ice cream and cake for later.

I have been making macarons for over a week now, and I think I have it down pat. One of the surprising secrets to a good macaron is to make a bad French meringue. You want it to turn out like royal icing--dense and pasty, almost--rather than fluffy and light like a good meringue. The filling is an intensely nutty pistachio cream. Last night, Anthony was looking for a way to photograph the pistachio macarons I'd made. He tried a number of different shots and then decided to match one with some of my leftover raspberry rose ice cream. Not only did the colors play off each other nicely, but the subtle nuttiness of the macarons balanced perfectly with the flowery ice cream. We shared a bowl and went to bed.



Anonymous said...

Whoa! That's an awesome serving! Any chance you will provide us with the ice cream recipe? You never cease to amaze...


Snax in the City said...

Those macarons look amazing. Ever since friends provided some quality macarons at a dinner party, I have been trying them any & every occasion I get. Each one has its own personality.
You've been making them for over a week, for a novice, is it possible to create a decent macaron? When you say, bad meringue, more dense, does that mean less beating of the batter?

michelle said...

You can definitely make a great macaron from the start. I have made them with both good and bad meringues with only a slight difference. The bad meringue adds a bit of luster. By bad I mean adding the sugar too fast and getting no volume. It will look like very shiny icing. Since you need to "overfold" the batter, it comes to the same if your meringue is bad to begin with. That's my theory, anyways. Let me know if you want any recipes to try.

Snax in the City said...

Would you please share the macaron recipe? We fell in love with macaroons at a patisserie called Laduree in Paris...they're rather difficult to get around here in the Big Apple...we found them at Fauchon and Payard only....Would love to experiment and try making them myself...

Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

was looking for macaron recipes to work with and found your blog. would you happen to have a recipe I could use? Here in Manila, when I tell people to try macarons, they think of macaroons (with coconut) which is very common here

Tara said...

I would love to know the recipe you are using for your macarons. I made my first batch on the weekend and they didn't turn out at all! I would love to be able to compare the recipe you used! Being in Sydney, Australia, the macarons best are from the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place - I fell in love with them and want to recreate them!

michelle said...

Pistachio Macarons (from Nigella Lawson)

(makes about 20 filled cookies)

75 g pistachios, ground fine
125 g icing sugar
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Mix the pistachio and icing sugar together in a bowl. Beat the egg whites until foamy and add granulated sugar slowly while whisking to stiff peaks. Add the pistachio mixture and fold gently but firmly. This will turn quite stiff and paste-like. Don’t panic. Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe circles about 1 1/2 “wide, or drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Let rest 15 min. Bake about 10 min. Let cool. Fill with a buttercream, ganache or preserve and sandwich.