Monthly Miettes – Parisian Macarons
It’s Monthly Miettes time again and for June, we’re all baking Parisian Macarons. Some of you will remember that Monthly Miettes is a monthly baking challenge thought up by Aimee at Food, Je t’Aimee after she fell in love with a gorgeous book called Miette, its namesake being a pastry shop in San Francisco. Miette, of course, is a beautiful word. As a common noun, it means crumbs all over the table and as a proper noun, as in someone’s name, it means “small sweet thing”. As mentioned last month, we are not publishing the recipes, instead, encouraging you to pick up a copy (Amazon stocks them) and join us every month!
I don’t think Macarons have quite caught on here in the UK like they have in the US, certainly not where I live. They might be a little more popular in London, I have seen them in places on my very infrequent trips up there, usually on our annual pilgrimage to The Natural History and Science Museums!
Now, I have a confession to make – I have never had a macaron before! Ok, I have now but before baking them yesterday, nope, not a taste, nada, zilch, zero experience! Get the picture? However, that didn’t stop me from having a relationship with these pretty little delights. I used to stop and admire them in all their glory every time I passed them dans une patisserie en France. BUT knowing they were essentially almond meringues, I was never tempted because almonds are my least favourite nuts and almonds plus sugar is marzipan and I HATE marzipan!
Thanks to Aimee, however, I am finally doing the macaron! (There’s a song somewhere in there!) It turned out to be a pretty straight forward affair, with just 4 ingredients, extremely easy to put together, my only problem was that I couldn’t find the right sized nozzle! All the others were there but not the one I needed! So, I had to go ahead with just a piping bag cut to size. Confession time again! I really couldn’t be bothered to draw circles on the parchment, I mean, if I were making 100 macarons, would I have to draw 100 circles?! Uh, uh, not going to happen, no way, Jose! However, I can see why you’d want to go with the circles, as you would then get identical sizes but I was fairly happy with the results I got.
The flavours provided some possibilities and I followed Meg’s suggestions with a couple. After the plain ones, which as expected, I didn’t like (sorry!), I went for coffee and cardamom, my recent combination discovery and filled those with coffee buttercream, which I quite enjoyed.
Next, came the pistachio ones in which I decided not to use any almonds – now, they were gorgeous! The taste of pistachios came right through and I was thinking that if you add a drop of geranium oil, you’d end up with bakhlava macarons!
Finally, the prettiest of the bunch – rose macarons. I added rose geranium oil to the meringue as well as the buttercream and they came out fantastic! I almost enjoyed them until I tasted the almonds through the rose geranium!
I made Meg’s Vanilla/French Buttercream for the filling. I have a recipe of my own, written on a scrap of paper from my days in Paris but I decided to try Meg’s as she uses egg white. I also used salted butter as I have always preferred icing made with salted butter. The final result was quite good, rich and very buttery but I prefer the more rounded flavour that egg yolks provide so, I think that I’ll probably stick to mine. However, I prefer using simple buttercream for most things, as there are no eggs, you don’t need to refrigerate the final product.
Verdict? Well… I’ll stay on the fence! I can see me making them again but I’d be inclined to lessen the amount of sugar used and perhaps less icing sugar in the meringue and some caster sugar in the egg. I thought the macarons quite sickly and I’m sure the exclusive use of icing sugar is the reason for that. I might make them for parties and will probably add them to my catering list as they are extremely eye catching but I doubt very much that I’ll be enjoying them myself.
I really did enjoy the experience though, a totally new recipe is always fun to tackle and the fact that I didn’t have any problems added to that enjoyment! I thought 2 hours was too long to wait as the macaroons had started crusting over way before that time which to me, meant that they were ready to go in the oven. Experiment time! I had 4 trays and I started with the 2 hours stated in the book and lessened each time by 30 minutes. So, my last tray only stayed out for 30 minutes. Results? Every single macaron had the same texture and look, apart from the colour, of course. So, in my kitchen at least, the Parisian Macaron holds no mysteries!
The other thing that I had fun with? (Not!) My auto correct constantly changing macaron to macaroni, so, if I’ve missed one, sorry!
PS: We even made some mini ones for the tooth fairy last night!
So, if you fancy joining us next month, visit Aimee’s blog to see what we’re up to next!
The rules are simple!
1) Buy Miette. It will be the prettiest, daintiest addition to your kitchen/bookshelf.
2) Bake the challenge of the month and post about it on your blog/website by the 25th.
3) Have it for BREAKFAST (!) (as often or as seldom as you wish, but at least once!), photograph it, and enjoy this little morning ritual to the fullest.
4) Link back to the original post at Food, Je t’Aimee please and thanks! (And if you’re tweeting about it, use #monthlymiettes.)