Chef Sanjana Patel of La Folie Patisserie and La Folie Lab, who is popularly known as ‘Pastry Queen of India’, got chatty with us after making 32 different flavours of macarons this week with her team on the occasion of World Macaron Day that is celebrated globally on March 20 every year. She talks about why macarons are popular in India, special edition flavours and her collaborations with bloggers. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What is the significance behind celebrating World Macaron Day?
World Macaron Day is celebrated throughout the world with an aim to sell as many macarons as possible to raise funds for charity. Patisseries give the funds for a noble cause that they are associated with. La Folie has joined hands with iContribute and the proceeds from our sales will go to them.
What made macarons popular among the Indian audience?
In my perception, Indians love cookies and biscuits and the texture of macaron is very similar to them. It is the perfect combo of cookie and dessert with a sweet and soft filling inside. Also, it’s a bite-sized dessert that helped contribute to its popularity. Few years ago, it wasn’t so commercial, people who went abroad had the luxury to enjoy it or get it for their relatives. So, when it was introduced in India, it immediately caught the attention of people.
What was the thought behind the association with the bloggers? How did it came about?
We collaborate with new-age bloggers every year for World Macaron Day so as to bring their favourite or innovative flavours on board. The bloggers that I have associated for this year are also my good friends. They are always around to suggest new flavours for my desserts. We have a great range of variety this year such as Mirchi Kairi, Jeera Chaach, Kadipatta Tadka, Methi Chonka, Haldi Doodh Mango with coconut vanilla bean cream, Miso Butterscotch Caramel among others.
Tell us something about the flavours of savoury macarons.
Our savoury macarons are curated by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. They are based on her take on basic Indian flavours, like cumin, chilli, curry leaves and fenugreek (methi), with which we grew up and are available in our pantry. There are other flavours like Cheetos, the black truffle and butter popcorn, which we are favourites of clients. We have brought them back only for World Macaron Day. In all, we have 32 different flavours of macarons for our customers.
How would you describe a perfect macaron? And, where did you enjoy such macarons?
A perfect macaron must have a crisp shell and a chewy centre. At the same time, it should have a smooth and creamy ganache inside. Talking about enjoying such perfect macarons, I have enjoyed them while working under my master, Pierre Hermé, the man who brought macarons on the global stage. I feel that he makes the best macarons in the world.
What are the popular flavours of macarons?
The most popular flavours are infinite caramel, dark chocolate and caramel. But what has been working for us are funky flavours such as goat cheese and fig, Cheetos, Sicilian Pistachios, Black Currant and violet.
Muffins are a great accompaniment with coffee; what goes well with macarons?
Tea! They are loads of variety in macarons like floral, nutty, fruity, chocolaty and many more, which can be served with tea. As macarons are gourmet, it is a great option to serve at high-tea events.
Also Watch: Step-by-Step Recipe of How to Make Macarons
Macarons predominantly have egg whites; can vegetarians replace egg whites in a macaron recipe?
Aquafaba, the second-best protein, can be a replacement for egg whites while preparing macarons. It is a derivation from chickpeas, and at La Folie, we make vegetarian macarons on order for clients. Yet, I would say it is not the best substitute for egg whites.
What are the important things that one should keep in mind to prepare a perfect macaron?
If we want perfect macarons, we must be accurate with the measurements and, in particular, about the egg whites that we use. In India, we are short of aged egg whites so getting them right becomes of utmost importance. Also, care should be taken while making the batter and baking it, as macarons are very delicate and may crack if one lacks baking knowledge. Most importantly, you need to be in a good mood to make prefect macarons!
Images courtesy: Chef Sanjana Patel
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