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  • Ladurée, which sells 15,000 macarons (pictured) per day, opened a tea house in its Parisian pastry shop in the 1930s, to cater for society ladies, who at that time were not admitted to cafés?

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Macaron
Macarons from a Parisian pastry shop
Macarons from La Grande Épicerie

A macaron or Italian macaroon is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” meaning paste.[1] It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaroon differs from other macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (foie gras, truffle). Making macarons requires a great deal of discipline and is a process that is highly dependent on exactitude, technique, and proper equipment. For this reason it is a notoriously difficult recipe to master and a frustrating endeavor for the amateur baker.[2]

Contents

History

Although predominately a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as a product of Venice during the Rennaissance.[3] Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II.[4] Pierre Desfontaines of Laduree is credited for the modern interpretation of the macaron as a sandwich cookie, whereby two biscuits enclose either a buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.[5][6]

In the 1830s macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron known today is the "Gerbet" macaron, born in the 1880s in the Belleville neighbourhood of Paris.[citation needed] The double-decker macaron filled with cream that is popular today was invented by the French pâtisserie Ladurée.[7]

Variations

A variation of macaron called makoron, which substitutes peanut powder for almond powder and flavored in wagashi style, is widely available in Sendai, Japan. Confiserie Sprüngli in Switzerland sells Luxemburgerli, which is similar to macaron but smaller and airier.

Popularity

The best known macarons come from Paris. The tea house Laduree is highly esteemed for the elegance and exceptional quality of their traditional macaron offerings. They sell 15,000 a day.[8] Other French patisseries like Pierre Hermé are also known for their macarons.[9][10] Outside Europe, the pastry has attracted itself to mostly cosmopolitan cities, notably Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne.[11] Despite this, the macaron remains relatively unknown in the United States and is often confused with coconut macaroons.[12] Awareness has been increasing, as macarons have become a novel dessert option for weddings and a growing addition to specialty pastry and bakery shops.[13] New York has recently witnessed a surge in macaron shops and those wishing to indulge in the delicacy can find a list of macaron places in the New York Social Diary.[14]

References

External links








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