Crisp on the outside and mouth-wateringly smooth on the inside, the Ladurée macaron is known as the best in the world.
The distinctive soft green and purple boxes have made a perfect souvenir for those who travel to Paris and also much loved by the local Parisians. The newly refurbished salon on the Champs Elysee has just re-opened and pays tribute to the history of the company and salutes the original salon at Rue Royal.
The Ladurée family opened the first tea salon in Paris at Rue Royal. The salon was originally a bakery opened by Louis Earnest Ladurée in 1862 but it was Laudree’s wife, Jeanne, who had the idea of mixing café and bakery shop which permitted ladies to gather together to discuss the burning issues of the day.
At about the same time. Ladurées second cousin came up with the concept of the macaron. He joined two macaroon shells with a creamy ganache filling and invented what we now recognise as a French macaron.
Like many French companies, Ladurée prides itself in the craftsmanship of its creations and its artistic presentation.
While the exact recipe is not previously known, the chefs at Ladurée combine almonds, eggs and sugar to create their famous treat. They allow each macaron to sit aside for two days before being presented in the store for sale to ensure the perfect balance of texture and flavour.
The colours and flavours of the range are extremely important and every year a new variation is created. The 150th Anniversary saw the reinvention of the original variations, Almond, Strawberry Candy, Lemon-Lime and Violet.
The company has also opened a store in Sydney at the new Westfield CBD building so you can now experience their delights without having to fly to France.
If you would like to try to bake your own version, the resident womanwithdrive baker recommends the Italian meringue method. It might feel a bit scary using sugar syrup for the meringue but this method usually gives a stable mixture with a glossy top, and that creates the impression of a professional macarons. She also suggests if you are a weekend baker, start with the French meringue method which begins the same way as making a pavlova. Just putting the egg whites and sugar in the mixing bowl and turning it on. Another tip is to sift your almond meal if you want really smooth shells.
There are many books about macarons but a wonderfully succinct book that covers many topics is ‘Secrets of Macarons’ by José Maréchal found at The Book Depository website which delivers to Australia.
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