Pain de sucre patisserie macarons Paris

Paris Pâtisseries and Perfect Macarons

I think I upset some friends on Facebook.  I “rubbed it in”, as it were.  Well, yes I did and I’m sorry.  Sorry because now I’m going to talk about it yet again: eating pastries in Paris.

These last few days I’ve taken a break from baking.  The weather has been surprisingly summery after such a LONG winter that for once, it seemed wrong to stay in the kitchen.  So there was nothing else for it but to take the short ride into Paris for a taste of some pastries and macarons. Would I do it on my own?  Of course not.  The pastry binge was with one of the most serious pastry tasters I know.  Here he is in action:

Adam from ParisPâtisseries.com

My gourmet friend, Adam Wayda, has finally arrived from the US to spend the next few months in Paris, tasting his way around the best pâtisseries in the City of Light. You probably already know him from ParisPatisseries.com fame.  Tasting pastries with the reviewer himself was seriously fun.  I mean, this was my breakfast and lunch: for Adam, he had already a head start beforehand! How does he do it? Fat pants, he says.

Genin’s luxury boutique is more like a chocolate museum

This was my first time at Jacques Genin’s chocolaterie in rue de Turenne and I was so glad that Adam had suggested it.  The luxury chocolate boutique is full of the most incredible sculptures that are showcased like museum pieces.  Time for a seat and a taste of Monsieur Genin’s Ephemère: a mix of chocolate mousse and passionfruit on a charlotte base, while Adam attacked a caramel éclair. Would he stick it under his nose like a moustache first? Just take a look at that hot chocolate. It’s not for the faint hearted.

What did Adam think of the caramel éclair?

We couldn’t leave without getting a few of Mr Genin’s legendary caramels.  Adam persuaded me (it didn’t take much convincing) to try the mango/passion fruit caramels and the caramels au gingembre.  True, at 110€ a kilo, one or two is fine.  But you know me, that’s inspiration enough to make some at home à la Jilly.  In the meantime,  why not add some ground ginger and finely chopped glacé ginger to a crème au beurre salé?

Genin’s boutique was wonderful but he didn’t have any macarons.  So Adam suggested a wee stroll up to rue Rambuteau to drop in for some macarons at Pain de Sucre.

macarons from Pain de Sucre patisserie Paris

macarons from Pain de Sucre, Paris

This is what was left from my doggy bag: chocolate mint, caramel au beurre salé, morello cherry-pistachio and chocolate-passionfruit.  My first taste was his Fleurs de Sureau (Elderflower) macarons.  Absolutely delicious.  Cassis/Blackcurrant was excellent, too.  The chocolate mint was just so refreshing with a dark chocolate button in the middle.  Although it was hard and I had to take it out and eat it at the end, it was full of flavour. In fact, all of Monsieur Mathray’s macarons are just bursting with flavour at Pain de Sucre.

That’s what I adore in a macaron. But as you can see, the shells are not quite perfect.  Some were coarse, some had cracks and some not perfectly round.  But does that REALLY matter? Even Monsieur Mathray isn’t worried about absolute perfection.  Some of his macarons may have a slightly bumpy shell (or “homestyle charm” as Adam calls it) but the taste is just fantastic.

Pain de Sucre’s refreshing chocolate-mint macaron

On the other hand, there are also many famous Parisian macarons that LOOK absolutely perfect but if you were given a blind tasting (i.e. not influenced by its colour or fancy name associated with it), it’s often difficult to tell the exact flavour you’re eating.

Beautiful macarons…

Many readers are excited when they get their macarons perfect first time.  That’s brilliant! Even my Dad made fabulous macarons recently for the first time ever and he doesn’t even BAKE for goodness sake!  But I’ve been amazed at some readers who make macarons for the very first time and are expecting complete and utter perfection.  They worry when they have a slight crack or feet that are not big enough.  Please, don’t be so hard on yourself! It will come …

Giant macarons in a luxury pastry shop

There are macarons – expensive macarons –  in many great pastry shops in and around Paris that have been making them for years and they’re sometimes not quite “perfect”: not the perfect looking shell or perhaps a perfect shell but not enough flavour.  They are made by professionals with the right equipment with fancy ovens.  Professionals have access to liquid egg whites in cartons that do act differently.  Many use macaron-making machines.  We’re making them at home in our own kitchens, often with ovens that are so-so.

There’s no end of macaron flavours

Just remind yourself of this and have confidence that the next time you’ll get it right, once you’ve ensured you’ve done everything in the recipe and followed the tips in the book.  Have you checked the oven’s exact temperature with an oven thermometer?  Did you whisk your egg whites enough to stiff but still glossy peaks? Feet not good enough?  Then leave your macarons out to dry a bit longer before baking them.  Some people say they don’t need aged whites or they don’t need to dry out their macarons.  Great.  But again, we’re baking them in our own home kitchen and not as a professional baker. We can get perfect macaron results each time but if you have the odd crack now and again, don’t worry. It could also just be your egg whites – are they organic? These are best. If you’re going to the trouble of making macarons, don’t skimp on so-so ingredients.

Making macarons is not a competition: it’s about having fun, being creative and above all, enjoying them! There’s nothing quite like getting that rush of excitement when the feet form in the oven and you can think up your own flavours, bringing out the artist in you.  To be able to say “I did that”.  I mean, have you done the macaron dance out of sheer excitement with these things? The proof in the pudding, though, is the taste.

OK “I did that” and admit I did the macaron dance…

Talking of being creative…. for all macaronivores who are fans of the forthcoming Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate, I’m looking to showcase YOUR inspired macaron creations for a Special Royal Macaron Procession on Le Blog on 29 April.  It’s not a competition.  Just a fun post to share our macaron ideas; it could be a typically British inspired flavour or on a decorative flag theme of red, white and blue.  Please send me your photos to jill(at)madaboutmacarons(dot)com and I’ll add them to LeBlog.  Have fun!  But wait…

pineapple curd egg yolk recipe

1st guest post and new series for egg yolk recipes with pineapple curd

Before you go, just a word for anyone who missed our first Blog Post from Erin, author of BigFatBaker.com.  She is kicking off a brand new series of egg yolk recipes on the site with her organic pineapple curd.  Just perfect for all those egg yolks left for making macarons!

42 replies
  1. All That I'm Eating
    All That I'm Eating says:

    I could swear that chocolate shop is the same one I stumbled in to when I was in Paris! I’m sure there are many like it but it looks a little similar. My friend brought me back some passion fruit caramels from Belgium and they were amazing.
    Thank you for letting us know our macarons won’t be perfect, it’s nice to know!

    Reply
  2. Our Eyes Eat First
    Our Eyes Eat First says:

    Jill! another beautiful post – and yes please keep rubbing it in.. LOL.. I love hearing about all the lovely things youre eating and experiencing in Paris – I cant wait to visit one day!

    Reply
  3. Mary
    Mary says:

    It was a real treat to browse through your post today. The photos are wonderful and almost – almost – as good as touring the bakeries with you. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

    Reply
  4. thoma
    thoma says:

    OK…here i go:

    i didn get the first part of your sorry; hurt frens on facebook…

    i’m personally getting a registration done for Adam’s “homestyle charm”. convey my appreciation to him and on his good looks…!

    i’m yet to learn the macaron dance from you SIS 😛

    i leave this space in agony coz i don have one damned thing good enough to taste and make me feel wow…something similar to Jill’s macarons!

    nb: i get back later for your other posts especailly manu’s post.

    Reply
  5. marina mott
    marina mott says:

    Hi, Jill! I completely agree: we must have fun making macarons! I love to be in front of the oven and see they growing! It’s amazing!!
    As you know I bougth your book: I can barely wait to read it!!
    Best wishes, Marina.

    Reply
  6. Kim- Liv Life
    Kim- Liv Life says:

    Organic Pineapple curd??? Oh MY!!! I’m going over to check that next. Can’t wait for your Royal Wedding post… I watched Dianna’s wedding start to finish and I’m looking forward to this one too. Such a fairy tale!
    Love your photos from this post, and your mac tips. I’ve followed your procedure and I’ve had good luck!!!

    Reply
  7. Pudding Pie Lane
    Pudding Pie Lane says:

    I just spent the last half an hour on Paris Patisseries, why have I not found it before! Thanks for pointing it out 🙂 Oh, and if you are every looking for someone to taste and review your macarons in the future, I’d be more than happy to volunteer 😉 Those Pain de Sucre macarons look amazing too, I especially like the sound of the morell cherry pistachio ones, great flavour combination!

    Reply
  8. Mary
    Mary says:

    I paged through your post three times. Your photos are like taking a culinary tour of the city. It was all quite lovely and you’ve made me very hungry, all the while feeding my sense of wanderlust. You’ve created a beautiful spot for your readers to visit and I plan to come back often. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    Reply
  9. fooddreamer
    fooddreamer says:

    You’re rubbing it in to this poor diabetic as well 😉 Wow, paris and pastries…if ever I am magically cured of diabetes, I will be flying in and you can give me the grand tour!

    Reply
  10. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Chocolate passionfruit please! Oh, how I would love to be in Paris right now with a friend tasting my way through the arrondissements (my favorite being the 10th!)! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Lisa McDonnell
    Lisa McDonnell says:

    What an awesome day of pastry tasting!! It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Thanks Jill for taking one for the team! Last summer my husband and I were in Paris for a tarte tasting trip… another tough job.

    Reply
  12. Becky
    Becky says:

    What could be better than pastries in Paris with chocolat? Nothing, except maybe a few macrons along the way. I’ve yet to make macrons, but one day.

    Reply
  13. Liz
    Liz says:

    Oh, my, Jill…can you see my skin turning green all the way across the Atlantic??? I hope to get to Paris within a year or two and do my own sampling…till then, I’ll just sit here at my computer and dream 🙂 Great post~

    Reply
  14. Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Jill! I enjoyed reading today’s story that even famous bakeries don’t make “perfect” macarons while first-timer sometimes makes good oens. It’s so nice you are surrounded by so many bakeries and taste so many kinds of macarons etc. How many do you eat a day? 🙂

    Reply
  15. Manu
    Manu says:

    I am noting down all the addresses for the next time I am in town! 😉 Lovely post… the picture of that hot chocolate made me want one so bad!!!! 🙂

    Reply
  16. Hester Casey - Alchemy
    Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    What a lovely jaunt with Adam!

    P is also for… Pleasure and… Perfection (as in it’s ok if it’s not) I am so pleased you included photos of Monsieur Mathray’s less-than-perfectly-formed maracons – they really do have their own delicious charm.

    Reply
  17. Corina
    Corina says:

    I was so excited when my first batch of macaroons worked. I’m planning to do a second batch soon and am looking forward to trying an exciting (but as yet undecided) flavour.

    Reply
  18. Choclette
    Choclette says:

    How could you possibly not go out and eat French pastries and especially stunning macarons Parisienne – after all, it’s research. I reckon yours would easily stand up with the best, home kitchen or no home kitchen.

    Reply
  19. BigFatBaker
    BigFatBaker says:

    I have only attempted macarons once and they turned out okay. But I bought your book and I am determined to make some cute little macarons with the little feet and domed tops. I also need something to use up all that curd!!

    Reply
  20. The Harried Cook
    The Harried Cook says:

    Such pretty macarons! I haven’t worked up the nerve to try baking macarons yet… But I’ll get there soon enough, I’m sure 🙂 Thanks for sharing (even though you make me really jealous!) 🙂

    Reply
  21. Sheelagh
    Sheelagh says:

    Jill,

    I’ve just made macarons from your book for the first time today and they turned out fantastic! Thank you. Some aren’t perfect but I had so much fun with the whole process and am already ageing more egg whites. ‘Mad about Macarons’ is one of the most comprehensive cookbooks with great attention to detail that I’ve bought in a long time (and I buy a lorra cookbooks 😉 Brilliant.

    Sheelagh x

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Joshua, that photo was not aimed at you. It’s meant for anyone who has lost confidence out there. Even these posh pastry shops are not scared to put them out in the window and sell them! You are going to have so much fun in Paris. Enjoy the break and sorry I’ll miss you with being in Scotland!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *