Have you ever felt out of place at a fancy dress party? Last weekend Antoine and I arrived at the door unsuspectingly wearing pyjamas and cuddly bears to meet a sea of hand painted Venetian masks and hired gowns from the Carnaval of Venice to Captain outfits.
In our defense we were dressed as characters from a French children’s show, Bonne nuit les petits. It felt, however, as if we were the April Fools of the year. In France, they call it Poisson d’avril and its victims go around the rest of the day with a paper fish pinned to their back. But it was too early. No, this was no joke. No turning back. We were in that door and we had to carry it off amongst an array of anonymous forbidding masks and, apart from our neighbours, complete strangers. At least we were comfy dancing in our slippers.
A good friend, Belinda, provided consolation with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Be true to your own act and congratulate yourself, if you have done something strange and extravagant to break the monotony of a decorous age.” It so happened that Belinda was visiting from the US last week and so she was in the firing line to taste another macaron experiment to break away from the monotony of classic flavours…
I took her photo seconds before she cracked up laughing.
The flavour? Dark chocolate and bacon. It’s not so mad, is it? We’ve seen bars of bitter chocolate with fleur de sel and seen chocolate chip and bacon cookies – so why not in a macaron?
The secret is not too much bacon, just enough to give a hint of saltiness and intrigue.
Firstly, add a touch of fleur de sel to the chocolate shells, fry 5 streaky bacon rashers then infuse 2 bacon rashers in the cream for the ganache.
Then discard the bacon from the cream and continue normally with a chocolate ganache. I did cut back slightly on the normal quantity of butter used, due to the presence of bacon fat. Julia Child did say that fat gives flavour, n’est-ce pas? (Note: I tried a batch before these ones, using allumettes (mini bacon bits) but they kept getting stuck in the piping nozzle and the end result was like eating tiny bullets in the ganache. So learn from my mistake. This next batch with infused bacon and rashers added to the ganache later was by far better.)
Cut up the rest of the bacon rashers with scissors and place on top of the ganache for each shell.
One wee tip: when putting any kind of “solid” in the ganache, always top it up slightly with a dash more ganache on top. That way the ganache can infuse perfectly into both shells over the next 24 or even 36 hours (if you can wait that long) for chocolate toe-curling bliss.
Et voilà, mes amis. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Just more macaron fun!
Giveaway Winners to Celebrate the Fête du Macaron
As promised, it’s time to announce the 5 lucky winners of a copy of “Mad About Macarons!” from Waverley Books. A huge thank you to all of you who participated and for so many lovely comments. I honestly wish we could have given a copy to everybody!
- Jenna Parrington
- Mary Jane
- Mary Rosch
- Spinneys Cauldron
Please send me an email (jill@madaboutmacarons(dot)com) with your full name and address so that we can mail out your copy. For the rest of you, don’t worry. The macaron madness continues…. and who knows, we’re surely going to have another giveaway soon. Stay tuned.
Just remember: don’t be caught out tomorrow on April Fool’s Day. Poisson d’avril !!!