There’s so much to love about the delicate little macaron – from its perfect pastel colours, airy crisp shell, and sweet flavoured fillings. In honour of the beautiful little sweet, here are some things you may or may not have known about macarons!
Macarons came from Italy
Not France. The history of the macaron is a many-splendoured thing. According to some sources, monasteries in Venice have been baking macaron-like confectioneries since 8 A.D. In the 16th century, the macaron brought to France by the chef of Catherine de’Medici, the Italian-born French queen, on the event of her wedding to the French king. In fact, macaron and macaroni stem from the same Italian word, maccherone meaning ‘fine dough’.
They used to look very different
While we now think of macarons as being perfectly smooth, pastel-coloured, airy puffs of confectionery, they didn’t always look like that. Original macarons were simpler, and much more rustic, with cracked fissured crusts, uneven in height, and less adventurously flavoured. However, did you know that macarons originally were not served with a filling when they were first created? Chefs would fuse two shells together while warm, or serve the halves on their own as a pure cookie.
It’s a temperamental dessert
The most difficult part of baking a modern-day macaron is ensuring the shell comes out perfectly smooth, circular, even, and light. The secret? Temperature. Oven temperature plays a big part how all baked goods turn out, but macarons are affected by the ambient air temperature in the kitchen. Even the weather outside matters!
Macarons are not macaroons
Like macarons, macaroons as seen above are small cakes made of ground almond or coconut flour and egg whites. But the similarity ends there. Macaroons are not sandwiched or filled. Unless you’re in the UK, where macarons are called macaroons. Yeah, it’s a little bit confusing.
Macarons in the media
Macarons have been around for centuries, but their popularity peaked back in the early 2000’s, thanks to their appearance on popular TV shows like Gossip Girl and Sofia Coppola’s decadent film Marie Antoinette, which both featured Ladurée’s macarons – and solidified the macaron’s identity as the smooth pastel creations we’re now accustomed to.
To ship them, they must be frozen
That’s how you can buy Parisien macarons in branches far away from the main bakery. “Any pastry chef who says he doesn’t freeze his macarons is a liar,” says Mr Hermé of the legendary Pierre Hermé bakery. A Ladurée spokesperson prefers to say they’re “hibernating”, which is really kind of adorable.
But if you’ve got a sudden hankering for fresh macarons now, we hear there’s now a macaron delivery service in KL that’ll send you a box of freshly-made macarons in 24 hours. Elevete macarons are RM 65 for a box of 12 with free delivery, and you can pick any combination of flavours available. Treat yourself! It’s World Macaron Day, after all.