Macarons: Be Inspired

I am often asked by readers how I first came to even think about making macarons, how I conquered the wretched task of growing feet on them, how I conjure up flavours and how I style them as I do today. The truth is, I’m mad, mostly, and I’m a flawed perfectionist. Oxymoron, no? Let me explain.

Mad to want to continue making macarons even though sometimes I get slapped in the face with cracked shells and uneven feet, because I really quite enjoy the process of nurturing them into being, and watching my delighted friends savour (or at least they pretend to…) these treats. But a lot of times, I do this at the expense of immense frustration and foul moods that come with getting it all wrong. Sadistic…..? Yes, just a little bit.

And I really do seek perfection in everything I do or make, macarons included. I try my darndest to get them to look right, taste right and even the process has to feel right. If the shells are a tad too chewy, or too crispy, I am inclined to throw them away (although M thinks it’s a waste of food and stops me from doing so now…). If they look wrinkly, they go straight to the bin. If the flavours don’t come together, again, bin-bound. If they look, taste, and feel right, but I don’t style them well, I feel like crap, as if I have wasted the few hours making them.

So it takes the attitude of a perfectionist for me to pursue the whole shebang of making macarons, because I constantly am seeking ways to make them better and better, and I won’t rest until I do. Unfortunately, I am flawed and I’m not a complete whiz at making macarons, so I never quite get them to be perfect. Come to think of it, it might just well be this flawed-slash-perfectionist nature of mine that empowers me with dogged determination when it comes to making macarons.

Above all, I am inspired to make them. And the very man who inspires me (other than M, of course) to do so is none other than pastry maestro, Pierre Hermé, himself. Ever since I had my first bite of his macarons, I never looked back. I was intrigued and captivated by the ingenious flavours that he came up with. And I grew very curious as to how this man could pack so much flavour into such a tiny and delicate mouthful. Before I knew it, I was getting busy in the kitchen, trying ways and means to dig deep into the mystery that were macarons, experimenting like I used to when I was a scientist, troubleshooting problems, discovering the tricks of the trade, playing with colours, dreaming up of flavours that would please my palate, capturing the beauty that belonged exclusively to macarons. My world was changed.

So imagine my delight when I was invited to meet Pierre Hermé for an interview at the Quintessentially Epicure event in early September. And imagine my horror when I realised it fell on the same day as my graduation. Both were once-in-a-lifetime events, but my family was here and I couldn’t possibly miss my own graduation. I was gutted to miss the event and I thought I would never have the chance to meet Pierre Hermé again.

Boy, was I wrong! Just this afternoon, I was invited to attend Pierre Hermé’s book signing event at the Belgravia boutique in London, to celebrate the release of the English edition of his ‘Macaron’ book (which I bought a couple of weeks ago!). And this time, I’m fighting tooth and nail to see him!

So, calling all Pierre Hermé fans, do drop by the boutique on 4 November 2011 Friday, from 4.30p to 6pm, and be inspired by the man himself! If you happen to see me hugging my Macaron book with a silly big grin on my face, please do say hi!


Address: Pierre Hermé Paris, 13 Lowndes Street, London SW1

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

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10 Responses to “Macarons: Be Inspired”

  1. 1 Lady J October 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    If Monsieur Pierre Hermé is your inspiration, then you would be mine :) Hehe. I wouldn’t have even attempted making macarons, but after much ‘oogling’ at your macaron posts, I’m glad I finally took the plunge.

    And stop being so hard on yourself.. your macarons are perfect!!! Thanks for sharing them with me…the memory definitely lingers on.

  2. 3 littlemissleney October 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    All hail to the macaron queen…. :) xo

  3. 5 Annapet (@thedailypalette) November 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    And you inspire me! ALWAYS! She is the Macaron Queen!

  4. 7 dana November 7, 2011 at 1:50 am

    You are an awesome food stylist and everything looks so delicious.

  5. 9 Joy November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    You are a macaron angel! I was highly inspired by you and am happy that I have also managed to yield them after many failed attempts, though they may not always be the prettiest! Two questions: how do you get the filling to be so firm? Mine tends to be gooey and always squeaks out of the macarons. My shells also tend to be oily/ shiny especially after being out of the fridge for a while. Any idea why? =)

    • 10 The Pleasure Monger November 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      Joy: I think it depends on the filling that you make, I make a buttercream so it is pretty firm to pipe. I pipe the cream once it’s made and pop the filled macs in the refrigerator. I only take the macs out 15min-30min out to room temperature before serving, depending on the weather. I don’t seem to have the problem of oily/shiny shells after taking them out of the fridge. Did you keep them in an airtight container before keeping? Also were they slightly oily/shiny to begin with?

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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
Macarons: Be Inspired
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