art of the macaron

As the debate continues between which side of Paris reigns supreme, rive droite or rive gauche, so too does the question of ‘who makes the best macaron?’. The Paris pâtissier preference most often between the two macaron greats: Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Who do I prefer? That is a matter of macaron, as each chef certainly does excel in particular flavors. I had quickly become a macaron fanatic upon moving to Paris and upon several dozen tastings, had accepted to adore (and indulge) in both. What I was really after was how exactly do you make these tiny tastes of heaven?

And so last Saturday my curiosity in the art of the macaron was satisfied. I signed up for a class at the reputable cooking school La Cuisine Pariset voilà! There I was ready to take on the challenge, filled with eager bakers (including my sweet confidant Delphine) and our pastry chef, trained with none other than Pierre Hermé himself.

With nary a moment to admire the glorious view of the Seine, we split into teams and got right to work. Sifting, measuring, mixing, boiling… Once in a while I did peek outside reminded that I was indeed in the heart of Paris learning to make the city’s most prized delicacy.

Our next step, and perhaps my favorite of all once I learned the technique, was actually making the perfectly round, just the right size, macaron shells. Not as easy as it looks!

Once the shells were formed and baked to perfection, each one was paired with it’s matching half.

From that point on it was all about filling our candy colored shells. The filling which I could have easily inhaled by the spoonful. We had made two very distinct and rich flavors, white chocolate mixed with a touch of espelette, a type of French chili pepper, and a classic praline. Délicieux!

And there they were. Our macaron masterpieces! Ready to be cooled and savoured, ideally the following day. I felt accomplished and though no easy task, I was even eager to try this at home. But until then, I will never again question the price of pleasure when it comes to the macaron.

La Cuisine Paris offers year-round macaron classes in both English and French as well as many other sweet and savory culinary adventures. I’m already looking forward to the next one…

If you live in Paris (or will be in town on February 10th) enter to win a free macaron class! Winners selected on January 31st. Bonne chance!

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26 Comments

  1. Henri Coleman January 28, 2012

    I really enjoyed your wonderful blog post on the macaron! Thanks for sharing your pictures and experience at La Cuisine Paris. It looks like a great class. I am going to share on my FB page, Henri Loves Paris.

    Love,
    Henri

    Reply
    • Kasia January 30, 2012

      Happy you enjoyed the macaron experience Henri! Perhaps a macaron crawl around Paris is in order…

      Reply
  2. Andi January 28, 2012

    I had a chance to visit La Cuisine Paris on Friday afternoon to take a look around, and while I don’t like macarons (sorry!) I can’t wait to try out their croissant class on a future trip!

    Reply
    • Kasia January 30, 2012

      I had no idea you were not a macaron fan, Andi! You do like chocolate, yes? A croissant class sounds great too!!

      Reply
  3. Susan January 29, 2012

    I took the class with you and am honored you chose to put my photo in your blog. It was such a fun class and I am acquiring the different things I need to tackle making this at home.. the almond flour was something I was ready to order online and believe my local whole foods may have it. just waiting for the arrival of the digital scale! I can’t wait to return and take another class!

    Reply
    • Kasia January 30, 2012

      Hello Susan! It was a pleasure sharing the macaron experience with you! Let me know how they turn out at home… good luck!

      Reply
  4. Lindsey January 29, 2012

    LOVE La Cuisine! Your macarons came out much better than mine but they’re so fun to make!

    Reply
    • Kasia January 30, 2012

      VERY fun to make and NOT as easy as it looks!

      Reply
  5. Sugar Daze/Cat January 29, 2012

    Wonderful pictures, Kasia! I tried making macarons once myself and the results while okay tasting were the ugliest macarons I have ever seen! I have been meaning for about 2 years now to get over to La Cuisine for a macaron class. If I could just find the time! One of these days…..

    Reply
    • Kasia January 30, 2012

      Thanks Cat! The photos were taken by La Cuisine. Oh, I’m sure you would make amazing macarons which you could then turn into macaron cupcakes!

      Reply
  6. ParisienSalon January 29, 2012

    It’s only because all of their classes are so exquisite that you’re able to stop looking out the window at the Seine. But a macaron class? Sign me up!!

    Reply
  7. Sweet Freak January 30, 2012

    I took the same macaron course at La Cuisine Paris and loved it! My take-away pastry box of little double-decker beauties didn’t make it home with me – in fact, I don’t think they survived beyond 100 yards of La Cuisine’s front door, so fresh and delicious they were. But, eh, it was just another beautiful day in Paris!

    Reply
  8. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 30, 2012

    Kasia, I am so glad you loved this class – it was probably my most favourite of the many I attended last summer. I love the vibe of the school and how they make the tricky seem possible! The macarons you all made are gorgeous 🙂

    Reply
  9. Stephanie Unter January 30, 2012

    I am such a macaron fan! Having visited Paris in September, I fell in love all over again.
    Finding haunts all over NYC now that I am on the hunt!
    One day I hope to take your class.

    🙂

    Reply
    • Kasia February 2, 2012

      Do come to Paris for the macaron class! Until then enjoy macaron hunting in NYC! (And take a look at Amy Thomas’ new book ‘Paris, My Sweet’ for where to find the best NYC macarons)

      Reply
  10. YUM. 🙂 Especially this: “white chocolate mixed with a touch of espelette *faints*

    I’m glad you got to take the class! I have heard terrific things about it. Thank you for sharing!

    xx
    Karin

    Reply
    • Kasia February 2, 2012

      That espelette is tricky Karin, just a dash! That flavor does sound exotic, doesn’t it?

      Reply
  11. StyleOnTheCouch February 2, 2012

    I so wish I could enter this competition. I was given a book on making macarons for Christmas, and whilst I need to invest in a few proper utensils first, I fully intend to attempt this, this year. A little inspiration in this post, and you looked very professional in these pics!

    http://www.styleonthecouch.com

    Reply
    • Kasia February 2, 2012

      Though not something easy to make (this is confirmed after taking the class) I have faith that you can do it! Or at least have fun trying.

      Reply
  12. Liza in Ann Arbor February 2, 2012

    Thanks for the tip! Macarons are hard to come by here in Ann Arbor (I love them!). Luckily, I’m coming to Paris in July- I’ll keep this entry on hand.

    Reply
  13. Vicki Archer February 3, 2012

    Did they last until the next day Kasia?? I would have had to eat mine!! xv

    Reply
    • Kasia February 6, 2012

      Hi Vicki! Actually, my macarons lasted a few days as they were soooo good I had to savour them slowly (and save a few for my Italian). Nice girl I am!

      Reply
  14. […] the macaron class at La Cuisine Paris and had a wonderful time, read more about it in her post, art of the macaron.  Lindsey has also taken several classes and did a nice write up on a night of Italian Cooking […]

    Reply
  15. Andrea February 7, 2012

    I’ve wanted to take a class like this since moving to Paris. It sounds like La Cuisine Paris is one of the best places to learn so I might finally give it a go.

    Reply
  16. Esme February 10, 2012

    This is one class I have never taken, but would hop on a plane if I were to win classes. Enjoy. I am not sure how many flavours I have sampled-but am always amazed at what they come up with-although one year I tried the truffled flavoured ones at PH-I think I will stick to more traditional flavours.

    Reply
  17. Richard October 23, 2012

    Kasia ! Excellent blog, I just stumbled across it looking for an old Sinatra song ” I Love Paris” and I started reading. I fell in love with Paris back in the mid 90’s . I used to race in France, and from that first summer I was hooked. Every year I spend a few weeks in Paris, and still I feel like every corner has something new, anyway I don’t want to write a novel. Keep up the great work.
    Richard.
    Toronto,Canada

    Reply

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