Macarons are brightly colored, uniquely shaped pastries created by a half-Ithanian chef, which helped her launch her career. It is made with almond flour, used to create their unique texture. A Macaron is a formation of two shells, essentially two halves, melded together by a filling in the middle. The dish is complex and time consuming to produce, and so is usually done by a small team of people. Macarons are commonly consumed by the nobility of Aloria, as well as those of the middle classes capable of affording a few for special or unique occasions.
The Macaron is usually considered a wholly Ithanian invention, but this is untrue. The chef who created it, Catherine Alucardaise Vrière Solaire de Vechant, was actually only half Ithanian. Her father was Dressolini, and while she grew up within Ithanian traditions and in Ithania itself, her father’s own culinary background influenced her work. It came to pass then that in 238 AC, as she was working for the Princess of Carnigoux de Foix, she blended techniques and knowledge from her father with those of her own Ithanian upbringing, and produced the Macaron. Her work became heavily praised after several unique arrangements of the dishes, as well as the bright, exotic colors that she made use of. In the following decades, Catherine became one of the most notable Ithanian chefs in Aloria, eventually serving the Sovereign herself before being called to serve the newly crowned Justinian II. As a result of this, and the general influence of Ithania on the Regalian Empire, Macarons gained great prestige as a sophisticated dessert with a highly flexible nature due to the various colors and flavors possible. Today, the dish has retained these perceptions and many now seek out Ithanian bakeries with the hope that this sweet treat in particular is present.
Macaron preparation is often considered difficult and somewhat tricky by the many chefs who make them. The dish has two components; the meringue “cookie” part of the dish and then the filling. The meringue must be made first, beginning with the whipping of the egg whites until they are foamy. At this point, the cream of tartar should be added, and through further whisking, the substance should now be better combined, leaving behind condensed bubbles in its trail. From here, a portion of the granulated sugar should be added as the liquid is stirred until all of it has been used up; at this point, the coloring can be added. The most common colors for Macarons are oddly some of the more exotic colors, such as greens and reds, sometimes with the taste of lime or strawberry as well. From here, the liquid should be whipped until it has stiff peaks, indicating its meringue state. Next, the almond flour and the other set of sugar should be mixed together, and a third of the substance should be added to the stiff peaked egg whites, then gently folded together. Afterwards, the remainder of the combined dry materials should be folded together until completely combined. The batter should then be piped out onto a baking sheet, with a circular-as-possible shape to each piped piece. Any bubbles seen in the batter should be popped, with the tray or trays of the substance left to sit for up to half an hour. Then, they should be placed in a heated oven for approximately 15 minutes before being removed and allowed to cool.
Either after this process, or during the baking of the Macaron shells, the filling can be made. Here is where most of the foreign flavoring comes in, as while it is common to use a simple white, buttercream-based filling, many others either color the filling or include fruits, spices and more to add zest to the center of the dessert. However, for the purposes of this recipe, the process for the buttercream filling shall be described. The two egg yolks should be added to a bowl and then whisked together with the sugar until the granulated substance has largely dissolved. The milk should then be added while the concoction is stirred. The substance must then be transferred onto low heat, still being stirred until it thickens, at which point it should be removed from heat. It should be left to cool before the butter is added in piecemeal while being stirred, ending on the inclusion of the vanilla extract; the substance should be smooth. From there, the shells, removed and left to cool from the oven, should be put into pairings, with the filling added in between, with generally enough to be slightly visible when the two halves are pressed together. The delicacy should then be left to fully cool and unite together for up to 24 hours, at which point they are free to be eaten with gusto. The main issue with all of this is that the formation of the meringue is very temperamental, and the tools of a chef commonly alter the substance, with an individual needing to be aware of their kitchen and how exactly it can be used to produce the shells.
- Macarons appear as two beautiful, small and often bright “cookies” being joined by a line of white or other colored paste between them.
- When smelled, Macarons often smell of vanilla or almonds, but this can vary based on the filling as well as whatever light flavoring some choose to also add to the shells.
- Macarons are known to melt in the mouth with a sweet taste, easily consumed and to some, quite addictive as a result.
- The most impressive creation made with Macarons was a simple but large replica of a castle next to a river, every aspect of the structure, surrounding terrain and river being made up of colored Macarons. The structure was completed by Catherine de Vechant’s male assistant turned successful chef himself Paul Gaugelle for her 100th birthday party in 301 AC.
- Macaron shells have an alternative, Dressolini creation process, but this is highly localized to the regional nobility and is not enjoyed as widely as the Ithanian version.