Eye candy. Mouth candy. Elusive pastry.

8/23/2009 08:45:00 pm

I mentioned yesterday that macarons in Sydney are thus far only available at the Lindt cafe and little patisseries in well-heeled suburbs full of yummy mummies and dogs wearing clothes. Even so, it was the macaron's reputation as fragile and finicky to bake, rather than their somewhat elusive nature, that was holding me back from sampling the delights on offer.

Also dogs in clothes make me uncomfortable, unless it is my dog dressed in a hilarious dinosaur suit, so I tend to avoid those suburbs most of the time.

I wanted my first taste of macaron to be a good one, and I knew that the way to achive such a thing was to go to the source. And let's be honest, Ladurée clearly sells 14,000 of the little buggers per day for a reason. That first mission, as you probably figured out from yesterday's post, was extremely successful.

I'm faced now with a serious problem: macarons. I find myself wanting more. Many more. Now. That is all.

I hear that there is a little trick to making them, involving some eexperimentation, the humidity of your oven and leaving the uncooked shells on the counter for a little while before baking (in order to let them form a crust and eliminate any bubbles, thus eliminating in turn the dreaded empty shell and ensuring a smooth glossy surface). But once again let's be honest: until I find $700AUD, stop changing my mind about which colour truly is timeless,* and get a house with a cooking-grade kitchen and oven thermostat that works...ie...own a Kitchenaid Artisan mixer...
...there is very little chance such a baking adventure will be undertaken.

And so I found myself last week in the Lindt cafe at Cockle Bay Wharf. I'd just been on a ferris wheel and there were fireworks shaped like little red lovehearts, so things were looking up for me. Luckily there were no dogs in clogs or my buzz would totally have been ruined.

We bought four delices, as the Lindt cafe call them. Perhaps if they call them macarons people get confused and correct them. It happened to me twice yesterday, and both times I was all like "fool, we are talking about a whole other league of pastry so go shove your macaroons in your pie hole." Or something to that effect anyway.

I wasn't really sure what to expect as I've been to Lindt in Martin Place a couple of times and it can be a little hit and miss. Mostly I think that's because they keep all their cakes in the chilled cabinet and don't let them come to room temperature before serving, which I feel dulls both the taste and the texture of good chocolate.

So yes, we bought four: pistachio, vanilla, milk au lait chocolate, and blackcurrant. The chocolate was by far the best, similar in texture and flavour intensity to Ladurée; the vanilla wasn't too far off either.

But I thought the pistachio was just a bit dull and its ganache was really quite solid. Ditto on the blackcurrant, and it had just a little bit too much crunch. I guess if my reference wasn't the ultimate macaron then I would have thought these Lindt delice were to die for. Good though they were (because they were still super tasty), they were not life changing.

I wish I'd tried the peach or the passionfruit because I wouldn't have had a benchmark for comparison. I guess I'll just have to go back again and try them...pity that.

*I am leaning toward cobalt blue, because then when I buy my Chasseur cast iron stock pot and skillet (hey! it will happen one day) they will all match. These are all important considerations.

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