They were once precious little things delicately plucked from shiny glass cases. Now you can find them in the freezer aisle at Trader Joes. Macarons, the very French confection of egg whites, powdered sugar and almond flour have seemingly fallen from grace. Nevertheless, there are those few, like La Maison du Pain's raspberry macaron, that reminded us of how our love affair with the confections began.
Usually there are two issues that can keep a macaron from reaching its greatness. First, their delicate texture can cause them to dry out. The crust can taste dusty and the inside gummy. Second, most don't add any flavor to the thin macaron batter. Instead, there is an over reliance on the filling adding the flavor to the macaron. However the cookie's overwhelming sweetness can overpower the flavored buttercream, jam or curd center. Even just one of these problems can lead to a case of serious macaron let down.
Owned and operated by Carmen Salindong and her extended family, La Maison du Pain has always been a place to purchase a reliably fresh and well-balanced macaron in its classic shape. However, a few months ago, we noticed a much larger specimen stuffed with fresh raspberries and artfully decorated with chocolate on top. And we have picked one up at each visit ever since.
At first, we examined its construction. It seemed impossibly stiff: whole raspberries were crowded together and adhered to the macarons with a bit of raspberry jam "We make the jam here," Salindong told us as we took a fork to it. To our astonishment it sunk deep into the confection without any effort, the crust of the macaron shattering elegantly and revealing a crumb on the inside that was surprisingly moist.
The fresh raspberries with the raspberry jam gave the macaron a true berry flavor, nuanced, with a hint of acidity. However, what really brought the flavors together were the hits of bittersweet chocolate, which tempered the pure sweetness of the macaron and opened it up for more raspberry flavor. With the texture just right and the flavors true we were reminded of why we have been disappointed with so many others. After all, no one hurts you more than the one you love.