If, like us, you make a beeline for Pierre Hermé’s patisserie whenever you’re in Paris or Tokyo, then his new cookbook – titled simply ‘Macaron’ – will help sate those sweet cravings till your next visit.
In precise French prose, Hermé unfolds the recipes for all of his trademark exuberantly coloured creations. Flavours run from pedestrian strawberries and lemon to green tea, rose, and saffron-scented peach and apricot. Long time fans however will be thrilled that Hermé has also included recipes for the more exotic flavours that put him on the map such as 25-year old balsamic vinegar, black truffle, and foie gras.
Of course, the black-and-white photographs of the steps involved in making the perfect biscuit and ganache completely belie both the time involved and the difficulty of the process. Nothing says complicated more than first boiling sugar to 115 degrees at step 12 and then to 118 degrees at step 13, all while whipping the egg white to a precise 50 degrees.
For these reasons, ‘Macaron’ will tend to be a cookbook for serious pastry chefs. But for those of us who will never pick up a piping bag but who remain sweetly curious, there is something to be said for finally unlocking the arcane secrets of this most delicate of French pastries.