Macarons and me….
Before I write about the topic at hand, let me tell you that I just managed to erase my entire first real blog entry! I finally got the photos in the places I wanted, was fairly satisfied with the editorial and eager to see the finished product, when all of a sudden, I made a wrong move and it all disappeared. *Sigh.*
On the topic of macarons, I have a big confession to make. I spent three days in Paris last summer and didn’t eat any. Not one. I was prepared to lose my macaron virginity to Pierre Hermé but the Paris heat & humidity sent us running for the cool waters of Nice, so I never got my chance. I stood firm by my promise that there would be no first time unless it was with Pierre. So, after a week of eating the thin crust pizzas and pan bagnats of the French Riviera, I left, macaronless and heartbroken.
Did I say stand firm? Well, I figured that the chances of finding myself in Paris once again anytime soon are slim at best, and a girl has urges that need to be fulfilled! So I broke my promise to the Prince of Macarons and found myself staring at six tiny and colorful confections at Jin Patisserie- a well renowned bakery/cafe in Venice (California, not Italy). I had read about their macarons in various food publications and was eager to try them. I chose black sesame, caramel, mocha, pistachio, macha and vanilla. To all who think me a glutton- each one was about the size of a quarter, and at $1.99 a pop, not exactly a bargain. I had high hopes and carefully untied the pink ribbon from the box. I started with the caramel. Great flavor, but most of the cookie part crumbled all over me since it was crunchy and filled with large pockets of air. The pistachio one did the exact same thing, and so on, and so on. By this time I had a massive sugar headache since each one was cloyingly sweet. Krispy Kreme sweet. Bubble Yum sweet. You get the idea. I could practically hear Pierre laughing at my ignorance in thinking that anyone but he could sweep me off my feet.
The one good thing that came out of the experience was an inspiration to try and make my own. I have no delusions that I could make a macaron as well as even the most novice French baker, but I thought it might be fun to try. At the suggestion of the brilliant Cynthia (of FoodMigration fame), I read David Lebowitz’s account of his first attempt at macaron baking and carefully followed instructions. I made the chocolate/chocolate combo, and I must say- they weren’t half bad. My first batch came out a bit overdone but the cookies in the second batch were slightly crispy on the outside, chewy/melty on the inside. Yes, I just said melty. I think my years of living in Tokyo as warped my slang a bit.