Tuesday, 9 February 2010


a.k.a. My Love Affair With the Macaron

So how many people have I told the same story to over and over


I was talking to Mum on the phone this morning asking her "What other kind of cake is hard and a bit fiddly that you have to practice loads to get perfect and even go to a class?" and she said "Profiteroles?" I told her I already made those and they were easy. Maybe not perfect, but successful enough on the first go to not feel challenged. Sponge cake - I have totally cracked it. I have struggled with cannellés and clafoutis - maybe that is the kind of thing - but nothing like a macaron. If you serve a macaron, people are amazed and always say "HOW DO YOU DO THIS? Is there a mould? Do you drop it into something hot? How do you get it so smooth?" etc etc etc. Anyway I have no clue as to what I will learn in Paris but I am getting HELLISHLY excited. And I feel a bit sick/nervous about it. The confirmation letter even tells you what you have to wear in the kitchen.

So - with this level of thrill in mind let me tell you first of all about Mrs K MEETING PIERRE HERME at the new Selfies consession where she had to photograph him for work. I had about 5 missed calls from her that day as she attempted to tell me "MOVE YOUR ASS HERE IMMEDIATELY" and as I said in my previous post about it [and apparently MISQUOTED and then got berated for it afterwards and I told her "Okay woah like fine but I will just blow it up all over the blog about how you yelled at me LOL brb gtg my nbff just logged on bye".

Oh Buddah where was I? Oh - about to eat this gift of personally selected macarons by Mrs K from Pierre Hermés own hand.

Here are a few views of the macarons at The Cardinals house. Please note the china. Also in bottom photo bottom left please note the sliver of marmite toast available for palate cleansing.

You may remember if you even care, these were the ones I had in Paris when I was there last from Pierre Hermé shortly after getting silly stringed by three pre teens on a skateboard outside the the Pierre and Marie Curé University mineral and gem museum.

So The Cardinal and I were in a gifted position to be able to truly assess the macarons in the privacy of her living room in front of an open fire, sipping Earl Grey Tea from china cups and a variety of cutlery to best perform the operations of peeling apart the layers.

Not the first time I have done this. Remember Nantes?

Sorry lost in a K-HOLE of macaron reminiscing and checking on the Danish cabbage in the kitchen.

Back to Pierre Hermé. There seems to be a whole divide between Pierre Hermé vs Ladurée and who's is better and whatever. I am going to say that on the whole, I prefer Ladurée. I like to know that what is labelled as Rose is going to taste like Rose. Admittedly I do admire the adventure of P.H.'s "collections" but I think the ratio there is too much filling to macaron and I am not a big fan of chocolate & fruit together at the best of times. I think they are both marvellous though. The only macarons I ever that that were awful were the ones in Nantes - the really tasted like lipstick, shampoo and shower gel.

With all this preamble, lets get ourselves to Sunday afternoon when I had a tea at The Crib with a selection of O.G.'s in attendance: Covvo, Alex T [the sub editor], Ella, Fi and the Cardinal. Hobart was also there but her presence was only felt when she scratched the Cardinal and singed her whiskers on a candle. For my guests I presented my take on cream cheese & radish and egg mayonaisse & quails egg sandwiches. Followed by a selection of macarons made in my own exclusive kitchen and two cakes. Oh and Champagne and tea.

These were Bailey's and Hazelnut. Total fail in my opinion but Alex T was more than happy to take the ones we didn't eat home with him at the end.

These were Campari and Blood orange on the left and Lavender on the right. Both lovely.

These were Basil, Pinenut & Honey with Lime. They totally cleaned up. Unfortunately they are a visual fail - see the brown bit? Slightly over done but did not affect taste.

The success of these makes me feel a bit less nervous about the class in Paris. I have to say, I had a very jolly afternoon after heinous weeks at work. The cookbook was planned. I will even be doing a chapter on Chinese food. It will be one page long.

"Don't fuck with it and leave it to the Chinese."

Although since then, I have been thinking about macaron recipes on that theme.

My lunch is ready now - braised fennel and Danish cabbage. I'm going to go eat it. You can be rest assured that I will be reporting back in detail from Paris all about how I go. PLUS I have been in touch with Goon already to discuss the restaurants we will be visiting! YERRRRRR.

xx Lektrogirl

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009


"He is small and tubby with dark eyes, a goatee beard and a round face. To his army of female fans, he is the embodiment of the masculine ideal. Meet Pierre Hermé, France's most famous cake-maker and the man with a highway to the heart of every Parisienne."

Or I think it is better to take a look at this:

After getting silly stringed and tripping out in the mineral museum, I went to rue Vaugirad and bought some macaroons from Pierre Hermé's 'boutique' for cakes. I considered buying all kinds of presents and then decided I couldn't be bothered and went for just the important stuff - a macaroon taste test.

I bought one of all that were available except for the coffee on cause that would be gross. Pierre Hermé macaroons do not come in nice boxes like Ladurée [Unbelievable! a bit like going to The Cake Hole and getting a Heinz Baked Beans mug instead of some nice vintage china!!!]

The flavours I left with were [clockwise] starting with the white one in the front: Satine [Cream Cheese, Orange & Passionfruit], Carrément Chocolat, Ispahan [Rose, Raspberry & Letchi], Cassis, Milk Chocolate & Passionfruit, Wasabi & Grapefruit, Olive Oil and Vanilla, Rose and the one in the middle is Salted Caramel.

So Wasabi & Grapefruit. It was as gross as it sounded. Sweet, bitter, no wasabi flavour that I could taste and bits of grapefruit peel in the filling.

Rose. Pretty good but I prefer Ladurée. Or maybe I just like that one better cause there is a Ladurée near work. Though this month I read that Pierre Hermé is thinking of opening a London store.

Olive oil and vanilla. BANGING!! So good. The best macaroon I had after the Spruengli cinnamon ones The Cardinal and I ate in bed watching MTV in Zurich until we wanted to die. The olive oil and vanilla was such a good combination - velvety and creamy and not sickly. So good.

I only ate three and couldn't go on and left the others for Goon and Fanny. When they got back from where ever they were, Fanny continued the taste test with great interest and Goon helped clean up the pieces. The least popular was the Passionfruit and Chocolate. Blurgh. I told Fanny I preferred Ladurée and she said the difference is that the Pierre Hermé flavours were more about interesting mixtures. However, I think I want to know what I am getting when I buy a macaroon.

Visit the Pierre Herme website here and order your own. Let me know what you think.

xx Lektrogirl

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