I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine the perfect woman: subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert. Delicately made up, not highly rouged. Holding back, not exposing everything and, of course, with a flavor that lasts.
~ Graham Kerr ~
When I first studied to be a chef at Prue Leiths College of Food and Wine in South Africa, we learnt about macarons. These dainty little French cookies (if it can be called by such a humble name!) that was an absolute art to make, that had reduced many a chef to tears and driven a few others more to the brink of sanity. But, when conquered, provide complete bliss. And so Ladurée – which is the Pâtisserie renowned for specializing in creating thousands of these tiny bites of perfection – was forevermore engraved in my mind; ever since then, I have kept this photo of the shop window and saved it as a bucket list item.
Walter and I have recently been fortunate enough to venture on our first trip out of the African continent. England of course was one of the highest on the list of places we’d like to go and see as so many of our guests originate from there – and wow – we have been blown away by the adventures we have had!
We had to do the touristy thing and visited Harrods – and more importantly, the Ladurée shop inside Harrods – what a magnificent sight to behold! All prettily dressed in pastel and in every flavour imaginable. It was a dream come true (I know, I know, not a very altruistic one at that, but incredible none the less).
They are quite pricey little numbers and so we could only try out a few, although I think that made us savour the event all the more.
So naturally, being back in the bush and feeling inspired, we just had to make some of our own. I have made them previously – and struggled a few times before I got it right – they are very fussy little devils – precise measurements, just the right amount of folding in, oven temperature, humidity and all the rest can determine if they succeed or not. Although, once you know how the raw mix must flow, you’re good to go.
We received some nut pastes from the UK, and tried out a pistachio flavoured macaron, with a pistachio and white chocolate filling. Voila! They came out light and airy, crunchy, flavoursome, and just a little bit sticky-chewy in the middle. Absolutely perfect the first time around, with the little frilly foot and all!