From the pages of Eatstreets

Author: Alison Thompson

Publisher: Penguin

RRP: $24.95 (paperback)


13 May 2010.
Reviewed by Stephanie Clifford-Smith

“Macarons are the new cupcakes,” declares this book’s press release and any survey of Sydney’s upmarket cafes and patisseries confirms the claim. Ever since Nigella Lawson started icing weeny cupcakes with lavender icing we seem to have developed a taste for pretty, pastel-toned sweets. Not since the 1950s has food colouring been so in demand, though thankfully today its use is more judicious.

These light little meringue-like biscuits are not to be confused with macaroons, even though the two do share egg whites and sugar as prime ingredients. Macarons are refined rather than rustic and are the object of some worship at the famous Parisienne teahouse, Laduree.

This specialist book targets the home cook, albeit a very keen one with a serious interest in patisserie and a desire to impress.

Written by Australian pastry chef, Alison Thompson, the technical information is sufficiently detailed to allow professional results but also so specific that anyone with slapdash tendencies would find it overwhelming.

I love the page describing the characteristics of the perfect macaronm which includes explanations for results deviating from the gold standard. It provides the perfect racing instructions for anyone about to launch into this precise exercise.

There’s a staggering array of flavours for the shells and fillings, some classic such as hazelnut, others modern such as green tea and mint, but they all look fabulous. And for anyone who has exhausted the combinations on offer, Thompson urges cooks to experiment with their own.

The photography is exquisite, capturing the smooth gloss of the meringue and the gentle ooze of the ganache, making everything look irresistibly mouth-watering. A perfect choice for an experienced home cook with a sweet tooth.

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