This is the last of the series of recipes that Matt and I shot in his studio in the LBC. Matt and I worked together a bit on props for styling before I flew to LA, and when I asked him about macarons, of course I wrote “macaroons”. I told him to pick out two sets of Thomas Paul plates online he thought he could style with “macaroons” and so he did. When I saw he chose brown, I was like “Are you sure??” and Matt said, “Of course!!”. When we went to the store to get “macarons”, I said,”Oh, not these ‘macaroons’, the French ones.” And Matt looked at me with an expressionless face and said, “GIRL, you didn’t say MACARONS! We have to go to Paulette for that!” and I said,”OOOh. No wonder you picked out those brown plates….” So I really must apologize to everyone for the fact that these shots are not styled on the colorful plates that Thomas Paul mentioned (which were not by the way available at the time Matt and I shot these!). The recipe to accompany the macarons was generously provided by Tartlette. Thanks to the whole team that made this happen despite my mistake! -Kristina
CLICK HERE for the full recipes (Macarons and Bittersweet Toffee Ganache), more GORGEOUS pictures, and some words from Thomas about why he loves Macarons (and PB&Js) after the jump…
Sweet Inspiration by Thomas Paul
I know this section usually contains a recipe from a designer, but the thing is, I don’t really cook. Of course I can boil pasta or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my favorite thing in the world to eat. But, please don’t ask me to follow a recipe, I will fall asleep before I even get through reading the list of ingredients required. So I have decided to present a different take on this section. I will talk about a food that has inspired me design-wise.
Now, food doesn’t usually inspire me, but I have based several designs and collections around this one food in particular. Of course it is a dessert! I don’t know how inspiring a steak, for example, could be unless you are doing some kind of western, bbq-themed print for a tablecloth or something. So, my inspiring desert is called a French macaron. A French macaron is a type of cake, or cookie. It is crisp on the outside and is soft in the middle. It is like a very fancy Oreo, but with a fluffier cookie part, and a softer, more filled middle part. Maybe more like an Oreo double stuff. Macarons also come in a variety of flavors, with the color of the macaroon usually reflecting the flavor of the macaroon. Colors tend towards the pastels, lots of pinks, mint greens, and pale yellows.
The prettiest macarons can be found in Paris, of course, where the prettiest of many things can be found. Specifically at a shop called Laduree which offers an incredible assortment of flavors, like Chocolate, Dark chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, Rose petal, Pistachio, Salted butter Caramel, Cherry amaretto, Raspberry, Orange blossom, Liquorice, and a few seasonal flavors like Lemon, Praline, Ice mint, Coconut, Chestnut, Grenadine. Not to mention special and temporary creations Java Pepper – Apricot Ginger – Muscovado – Candyfloss – Havana – White amber – Indian Rose – Aniseed – Orange Saffron – Lily-of-the-valley – Strawberry Poppy – Gingerbread – Rosanis…
You can imagine the incredible range of colors that are on display in the shops, just from reading the names of the flavors. I used some of the colors as a palette for my pillows when I was working on a softer, pastel range. I have also used some for a new range of melamine plates, for which I wanted the feeling of Marie Antoinette-the Sofia Coppola version. That is sort of what Laduree feels like to me—pastel pink and soft, but not too girly. A little hint of something darker underneath.
I am sure you can find various recipes for macarons in books or on-line, but I have not attempted to make them myself, nor will I try.
Instead, I’d like to offer some of my favorite places to buy macarons in New York are:
Payard: 1032 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10021 (212) 717-5252
Bouchon Bakery: 10 Columbus Circle, ( Time Warner Center) Third Floor New York, NY 10019 212.823.9366 bouchonbakery.com also in Las Vegas and Yountville, CA
Almondine: 85 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 in DUMBO (718) 797-5026
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
(By Helen at Tartlette)
3 egg whites or 90g weighed
50 gr. granulated sugar (about ¼ cup)
200 gr. powdered sugar (about 2 cups of sifted sugar)
110 gr. blanched almonds, whole or ground (3/4 cup of whole almonds/1 and 1/8th cup ground)
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse if you use already ground almonds (that you have ground yourself separately) It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. If you use whole almonds, pulse thoroughly for a minute or so. Add them to the meringue, and start to give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flatten on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple more folds.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on their size. Let them cool completely before filling. Pipe or spoon some of your filling on one shell and sandwich with another one.
Bittersweet Toffee ganache:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (8oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup toffee bits
In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined.
Add about 1/4 cup of toffee bits to the ganache once it is whisked.
Let cool until firm enough to put in a small piping bag.