Well it Tuesday (March 6th, 2012) and time for another cooking class this one on French Macarons.
The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The term “macaron” has the same origin as that the word “macaroni” — both mean “fine dough”.
The first Macarons were simple cookies, made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites. Many towns throughout France have their own prized tale surrounding this delicacy. In Nancy, the granddaughter of Catherine de Medici was supposedly saved from starvation by eating Macarons. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the macaron of Chef Adam regaled Louis XIV and Marie-Therese at their wedding celebration in 1660.
Only at the beginning of the 20th century did the Macaron become a “double-decker” affair. Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Louis Ernest Laduree (Laduree pastry and salon de the, rue Royale in Paris) had the idea to fill them with a “chocolate panache” and to stick them together.
Since then, French Macaron cookies have been nationally acclaimed in France and remain the best-selling cookie in pastry retail stores.
On with the class — Over the years I have taken several cooking classes in France, actually Paris, mostly because we are usually traveling with friends when outside Paris and the classes are longer, sometime several days. Recently I have been using La Cuisine Paris, one because it not stuck out in the hinter lands of Paris, its a bit more reasonable and the classes have interested me.
I discovered the Macaron class while attending the Croissant class and everyone was talking about what a fun class it was, so I signed myself up. The class was full of woman well actually girls most of which could be my doughtier, but not a bad way to spend a couple of hours in Paris with a bunch of attractive women.
The class was taught by a pastry chef name Guiemette she trained as a chef but then chose pastry because it was far less work and shorter hours in the kitchen, at least in a french kitchen.
Like most classes it was a group grope doing thing in teams and making macrons is a bit of tough work because until you incorporate the meringue into the dough it pretty tough stuff. The meringue used these days is an italian meringue because it make for a more stable product, normal meringue can be crumbly and break very easy. I’m sure you have al seen those hugh cooking in the bakeries and pasty shops.
We made pistachio and chocolate passion fruit macrons in green and violet.
Any way I think the slide show pretty much tells the story.