When you think Paris, what comes to you mind first? The Eiffel Tower? The food? All of the above? Well all of those are big attractions but don’t forget about the pastries! I mean you can’t go to Paris without trying the pastries, and if you happen to try several a day there is nothing wrong with that! Paris is known for the food they produce and their treats should not be missed; from escargots (what looks like a flat cinnamon roll) baguettes, croissants of many flavours & of course the luxurious Macaron.
A macaron is a sweet meringue-based treat made with egg whites, icing sugar, almond flour & food colouring. They originated in France and were something I had never tried until a couple years ago. I always thought they were too fancy for me (but let me tell you, everyone should try them!), but when I was given some as a gift by a client at work & took my first bite I knew I was hooked! Fast forward two years and planning a trip to Paris with Lindsey of Seven Day Weekender we both really wanted to participate in some kind of cooking class during our time in Paris. With that we reached out to LaCuisine Paris to make sure we got the best experience, and were warmly invited to attend their Macaron making class.
Located in the heart of Paris close to Notre-Dame and Ile Saint-Louis, this kitchen space hosts dozens of different classes and tours to ensure you get the most out of your trip to Paris. Priding themselves on small class sizes and the best chef teachers, you’ll be in good hands no matter the class you choose. For our class we were greeted by the lovely & hilarious Chef Segoline a local Parisian who has worked in countless high end pastry kitchens in France. As she brought us + 3 other pairs into the kitchen I felt as if she were bringing us into her home to have a friends night in cooking, she was so warm & you could hear the passion she has for pastry as she went through the itinerary for the class. We got set up at our stations, armed with aprons & our chef game faces on we tackled the first step - creating the ganache filling for our macarons. This is made up first as it needs time to set and cool before being able to fill your macarons. We got to create lemon, vanilla, chocolate & the class favourite pistachio flavoured ganache.
Once the filling is set to cool in the fridge (freezer if you are short for time) it’s on to the most delicate part of the process, the outer shells. This is where Lindsey excelled and I need a little bit more help, apparently I was too excited to get them out of the piping bag and onto the tray aka wanting them in my mouth quicker! With a little coaching from Chef Segoline I got the hang of it and then we were off to the races. Matching colours with others in the class to get some unique macaron shells. With the small class size (total 8 people) it was great to interact with everyone in the kitchen, Fathers & Daughters, Friends, and us bloggers from everywhere from Australia to Toronto. While the shells were in the oven we got the chance to mingle and chat before getting into the final stage of the class - filling our macarons.
When you take your ganache out of the fridge/freezer it should be a good consistency and pipe easily, if you find this isn’t the case role the piping bag around in your hands to warm it up, should take only a few minutes before you’re filing your airy shells with lush flavours. Segoline even provided fun extras like coconut shavings, sesame seeds & even sparkles (Lindsey's favourite) to decorate our shells with. You can get creative at this stage and mix and match shell tops & bottoms (as long as they match in size) with others in the kitchen to make your most unique treats you'll be able to take home with you..if they even make it out of the kitchen that is!
The whole experience was one that I won't soon forget. I have always talked about wanting to take a cooking class of some kind, but I never imagined that I would learn to make macarons from a genius Parisian Pastry Chef in Paris. While I've now been home for a week + from this trip I'm still talking about it to people at work, or at home or really anyone who will listen. It was a fantastic opportunity to tick something off my bucket list and get the most out of my visit to Paris. I know I speak for both myself and Lindsey when I say that we can't thank LaCuisine Paris & it's staff, especially Chef Segoline for the afternoon we had. It was a serious treat (all the puns intended). Now to one day try to make these on my own!
Tips from a pro
TRY to wait 24 hours after making your macarons, they will taste better
When making panache you can also use fruit juice instead of milk for different flavours
For even more decadence use jam or Nutella + marscapone cheese for fillings
Oven should be at 160’
Be sure to temper your chocolate so you have NO air bubbles (do not use the microwave)
Use a thermometer when heating your sugar mixture
Incorporate it slowly into your meringue mixture, meringues are ready when the mixing bowl is cool to the touch
Better to under mix than over mix
After piping your shells onto a baking try, bang the try to release the air bubbles before baking
To learn exactly how to make these heavenly treats, be sure to visit https://lacuisineparis.com to book in on your trip to Paris! A huge shout out to the chefs & staff at LaCuisine for making the afternoon incredibly memorable !