Wednesday, July 02, 2014
A Recipe for Love- a morsel of delight
A Recipe for Love – A morsel of delight
The macaron's origin isn't clear, but it may have been brought to France from Italy as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici and her pastry chefs. Macarons gained 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 made simple macarons from a combination of ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar. No special flavors and no filling.
It wasn't until the 1900s that Pierre Desfontaines of Parisian pastry shop and café Ladurée decided to take two cookies and fill them with ganache. Today the macaron is a delicious treat of thin, light crust followed by a layer of moist almond meringue with a center of silky smooth filling. Lucky for me and lucky for you these little love cushions are now available here in the states. Nothing tops a French meal off like a little morcea (morsel) of macaron.
On Valentine’s Day 2011, I was in French class and one of my class mates brought in boxes of French macarons to share. They came from Paulette Macaron in Beverly Hills, California. You can order them online at paulettemacaron.com. These delicious little morsels mixed well with our conversational French as we licked our fingers and continued to pass the cookies around the room. The chocolate were divine! I think I’m in love.
Macarons are made from egg whites, sugar and almond flour. Among their many health benefits almonds are good for heart: Mono-saturated fat, protein and potassium contained in almonds are good for the heart. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and reduces the risk of heart diseases. The presence of magnesium in almonds helps to avoid heart attacks. Almonds help reduce C-reactive protein which causes artery-damaging inflammation. Almond is also a source of folic acid. They therefore help to reduce the level of homocystein, which causes fatty plaque build-up in arteries. What’s good for the heart must be good for love.
I read recently that macarons are the new dessert de jour. Cupcakes are passé. So I bought a box of macarons and served them as a dessert along with a little fruit sorbet. Light and fluffy these little treats called pets in French (meaning either little farts or little meringues- depending upon whose interpretation) brought joie de vivre to the night.
Whether a cookie or a meringue these almond delights are healthy and heavenly. Almonds have been a part of many cultures and have made their way into many dishes. The almond is a symbol of faithfulness. Making the macaron the crème de la crème of love.
In Greek mythology,a princess, beautiful and faithful to her prince and lover, Theseus goes down to the sea each day, hoping to see her lover’s ship returning from the Trojan War. When it does not look like the fleet will ever return, she dies of grief and is changed into an almond tree to commemorate her faithfulness.
Now that’s love….