Friday, February 24, 2012

Strawberry Macarons: Success at Last!

I made these little beauties as a special birthday treat for a special someone, and I had to do a little photoshoot before giving them away, because they came out PERFECTLY. This is my sixth or seventh attempt at macarons, and it is the very first time they have come out exactly right. Strawberry meringues filled with strawberry jam, and a sprinkle of special birthday fairy dust (okay, edible glitter) on top. Can't you see them on sale at Ladurée? Of course you can.

I have tried and tried and tried to make this cookie, and failed and failed and failed. To be honest, the challenge is part of the fascination, but I am determined to master them (they sell for £2 apiece at posh bakeries in town, so I think it's worth learning how to do it at home). They are more than just a meringue cookie sandwiched with cream; they are stiff meringue mixed with ground almonds and the batter must be a very specific texture in order to produce the desired form, which is what makes them temperamental. One stroke of the spatula too many or too few, and they're a disaster. I've read Tartelette's excellent macaron tutorial at least a thousand times and still couldn't get the little critters to do what they were supposed to do. So frustrating! But then I happened upon this fantastic post at a la cuisine, and ladies and gentlemen, I declare a hit! A palpable hit!

I used the same recipe to make lemon macarons for my son's Christening tea last week, and even though they came out pretty well, they weren't picture-perfect because I didn't beat them down enough. But at last! Strawberry success! Now I have to prove I can do it, and my mind is whizzing with all the possible variations to engineer. I think pistachio... or maybe clementine.... vanilla with Nutella buttercream..... ooooh.... getting so hungry!

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