Ce sont des macarons malformés. Never rush a macaron, my dears. Never.
I've been thinking a lot about Paris Syndrome recently. I'm someone who thinks the city is horrendously overrated, overpriced and underwhelming, and can quite see why large numbers of tourists each year fall prey to the condition.
You want sunny weather, clean streets and blue skies; tree lined boulevards and green parks; the smell of freshly baked baguettes and window displays filled with beautiful patisserie. You do not get it.
What you get is all the dirt and grime of any big city. There is no way to enjoy the unbelievably expensive coffee you ordered at the corner cafe when all the clientele are clutching at smoking Sobranie Black Russians, and waving them in your faces. Then there are the dogs: let us not mention the dogs and their mess. Considering all of the above, one can understand the poor tourists' syndromes du voyageur.
Still, there is the Eiffel Tower.
I am being overly harsh. It's just that over-turning a lifelong dislike for the place is proving difficult.
Pierre Hermé is helping me to do just that though. I was at his place on Rue Bonaparte recently and re-reconfirmed my love affair with the macaron. I had one that was flavoured with olive oil and vanilla, and which was, well, obscenely delicious. They should be prescribed as a cure for Paris Syndrome, and Mr. Hermé should be given a white coat to wear to work.
Just a suggestion.
Also among the flavours I selected was a simple - if we can call any macaron simple - rose scented number, and since I don't quite have the guts to attempt the olive oil-vanilla version chez moi, I decided to give it a go to take to some friends I was visiting. I seem to have gotten in to the habit of doing that - promising macarons - and really must stop it.
Time was not on my side; you can see that from the knobbly, gnarly lumps on the top of my mac shells. I was in such a rush that I under mixed the party-pink batter, and didn't want to stop and correct it. But I wanted to post them, my C- macarons, anyway, because the last few batches I have turned out have been very good and I want you to see that I can mess up royally as well.
Plus, I wanted to share with you my new and improved filling for macarons, which beats anything else in the world. Bar olive and vanilla ganache.
Mr. P's Rose Macarons
It's worth pointing out that Pierre Hermé uses the Italian meringue method of macaron making, and mine are French meringue. You can find the recipe and method here. Omit the cocoa, and add a small dab of red colouring gel once the meringue mixture has been beaten to soft peaks. Put together with:
Mr P's Stupendous Rose Cream
You will need:
100g white chocolate
100g full fat cream cheese
natural rose essence or rose water
- Melt the white chocolate in a suitable bowl in the microwave. I do this on half power, in 30 second blasts. It takes about 90 seconds all in. If you have no microwave, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate that way. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Add the cream cheese and mix together until smooth.
- Add drops of rose essence or rose water to taste, and mix in thoroughly. Rose flavourings vary in strength enormously, so go easy. If you live anywhere near a Middle Eastern or Indian grocery, get your rose water there. It will be cheaper and better quality than any or the prettily packaged ones you'll find in supermarkets. Iranian rose water is the best. Promise.