This Friday, May 31, is National Macaroon Day. To honor the day, Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Pastry Chef of 2012” and the Executive Pastry Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, Chris Ford is setting out to set the record straight and clarify the differences between the often confused confections: The macaroon and the French macaron.
While both are meringue-based confections, they hardly share any other similarities. A macaroon is Italian in origin, usually made of egg whites whipped to stuff peaks, sugar, almonds, coconut or nuts, and often dipped in chocolate. It’s much looser and does not take much discipline to make. To make the French macaron, on the other hand, is a much more intricate art, and it is a dessert that takes time and practice to perfect. A sandwich-like meringue-based confection, the French macaron is filled with a layer of buttercream, jam or ganache. It is often available in a variety of color and flavor combinations. My favorite ever is Chris’ PBJ macarons. They are perfection.
Coconut macaroons. Photo credit: Pastry Studio
French macaron. Photo credit: LAMILL Baltimore
After hearing about how hard macarons were to make, Chris Ford saw it as a challenge to begin not only making macarons, but perfecting them over the span of seven years. Today, Chris is held in high regard for pushing the envelope with his whimsical twists on classic French macarons like his Oreo macaron served at LAMILL Café Baltimore featured in The Wall Street Journal.
In honor of Macaroon Day, Chris will be offering a coconut macaroon-inspired French macaron at LAMILL Café, in the Four Seasons Baltimore.
And here is Chris Ford’s recipe for macarons: