Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Macaron Deficiency

Behold the object of my quest, the delectable, sometimes chemically-hued macaroon macaron. I'd read about them and had at first thought the writers were referring to chewy, sweet coconut macaroons, just one of which can put you into a sugar-induced coma -- good as a sedative for getting through an afternoon of mindless cubicle-bound work, but not for the size of one's ass.

No, no, no! These treats are delicately flavored concoctions, made from egg whites, ground almonds and sugar, then filled with a mixture of egg whites, butter and sugar. I'd looked at recipes on-line, thinking that, just as I'd done in a quest to have madeleines, I'd have to make my own. However, I needed a point of reference, some idea of what a macaron was like in the real world, not just on-line.

I'd recently read an article about Circle City Sweets which included a picture of a young woman making what appeared to be pumpkin-spiced macarons. The bakery is located in Indianapolis City Market. Built in 1886, the Market is the last remaining public market building in Indianapolis. Then, as now, it provided the city with fresh meat, poultry, produce and baked goods.

When I first moved to Indy over thirty years ago, the building was full of food stands and small merchants offering various foods, as well as trinkets and crafts. In recent years, the place had fallen on hard times, maybe due to a lack of focus and has since been remodeled and revitalized; most of the "hippy-dippy" appearance I'd encountered years ago is vanished, replaced by a brighter, airier atmosphere.

But back to the macarons ...

While her husband made a roast beef sandwich for me at his stand, Circle City Soups, a few feet away, I chose five macarons -- two chocolate, two raspberry and one white chocolate. With my macarons carefully packed in my tote and my beautiful sandwich in hand, I stopped at Cath, Inc. for some coffee then headed for the mezzanine to eat my lunch. And to taste my first macaron.

Damn, that sandwich was good! When asked my preferences (wet or dry; hot or cold; spicy, sweet or plain), I chose hot, spicy and wet. I don't eat much meat anymore and this sandwich was a very nice break. Then the macarons, which were not cloying at all. I ate two of them then saved the rest for later. They seemed a little chewy on the inside, which I think was due to their having been in the freezer.

I brought them home, let them set out and had them with coffee after dinner. They were no longer chewy, having turned into the delicate treat I'd expected, sort of crispy and melty at the same time. I just wish the raspberry ones were colored something other than that evil merthiolate pink. Why can't they be a pretty mauve, more in keeping with the pretty raspberry jam inside?


dive said...

What a great place (even if it has lost its hippie innocence). That hot beef sarnie looks glorious! And I can never resist a macaron (though eating them in Paris is my preferred recipe).
Shopping and lunching in such beautiful, warm brick surroundings with views of trees outside the windows must be a pretty special experience. I love the iron staircase detailing, too. Your city is full of surprises.

Speedway said...

It is a great place, Dive. Though I liked it when I first went there so many years ago, I never took the time to really look at the stairs and the railing, which are so beautiful. The mezzanine then was partitioned off with booths made with cheap, wood-grained paneling completely out of character with the structure. A contemporary addition somehow fits with the older bldg, but is less successful. I fitness center has been opened there.

Just about the best part of that sandwich was the bread saturated with the meat's juices. Oh, that was so good!

Anonymous said...

Did you send the link to your blog to the owners of the Circle City Sweets and Soups?
Maybe there would be a Macaron in it for you, for making them famous around the world.

Speedway said...

Hello, Alison. Thank you. No I hadn't thought of it. I'll do it now.

The sandwich was wonderful. Since I have so little experience with macarons, I don't feel qualified to judge, except to say I enjoyed the ones I had.