Macarons for Mom
Macarons, the precious, pastel colored, sandwich-shaped delicacies, native to France, have found a foothold with bakers everywhere, including Nashvillians Sarah Darling and James Muriel of sweetdarling patisserie. Sarah and her British husband, James met in Paris over a first date of macarons. Now residing in Nashville, they’re sharing them with us. But what exactly is a macaron? Here is a little lesson from Sarah and James and Sweet Darling Patisserie.
Macaroon vs Macaron
Macaroons, commonly known here in the US, are chewy, moist, shredded hay-stack coconut cookies, sometimes dipped in chocolate. French Macarons couldn't be more different. Macarons are a butter-creamed filled cookie sandwich made primarily with almond flour, eggs and sugar, making them delicate, and today, not going unnoticed, naturally gluten-free.
History of the Macaron
Macarons are thought to have been brought to France around 1533 by Catherine di Medici and her pastry chefs. The Medici family was one of the most powerful families in Europe and their name is synonymous with the fineries of the Italian Renaissance.
They gained more fame in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution baked and sold macarons in order to support themselves. They were known as the "Macaron Sisters." These macarons tended to be closer to what we would think of as a cookie, single deckers with no filling, but nevertheless made using almond flour and sugar as is still done today.
Around 1900 Pierre Desfontaines of the famous Patisserie Ladurée in Paris is thought to have put a ganache filling into a macaron, resembling the double decker we think of as a macaron today. There is also a claim by another Parisian baker, Claude Gerbet that he invented them as apparently the cookie was commonly referred to as a Gerbet back in the day. Maison Ladurée still exists to this day serving all manner of delicious macarons all over the world.
Macarons Around Town
Sweet Darling Patisserie
Village Brewhouse and Marketplace, Hillsboro Village
Available through orders only lemacaronnasvhille.com
The Painted Cupcake
Glendale Shopping Center, Lower Level
2014 Glen Echo Rd
Images courtesy of Sweet Darling Patisserie