These delightful almond macaroons are widely known under their French name "Macarons de Nancy" and originated from the town of Nancy in the Lorraine region of France. Originally prepared by Sisters in the downtown of Nancy, the fine Macarons rapidly became famous throughout Lorraine and a classic in the French gastronomy and confectionery!
The traditional Macaron recette consists in a simple mixture of fine sugar, white eggs, ground almonds and icing sugar, but in reality, this French treat from the Lorraine region requires much expertise and delicacy.
Nancy macaroons was created by the Sisters of Les Dames du Saint Sacrement's Convent, who used to cook many different pastries since meat was prohibited in the Convent. During the French Revolution in the late 18th century, whilst many religious congregations were dissolved, two Sisters from the Convent were hosted at Doctor Gormand's (the doctor of the Convent) in the downtown of Nancy.
To thank him for the accommodation and to make a living, Sisters Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth decided to cook intensively some of the pastries they used to prepare at the Convent: then came the delightful almond macaroons - which rapidly became famous under the name of "Macarons de Nancy" or "Macarons des Soeurs Macarons" (Macaroons Sisters' Macarons).
The refined Macarons de Nancy's recipe has the same base than other well-known macaroons such as the coconut macaroons and the Parisian Macarons filled with flavoured buttercream. The egg whites and sugar are typically whipped until forming a stiff *meringue*.
But the almond macaroons from Lorraine require more agility and finesse: powdered sugar and ground almonds are delicately folded in the meringue. The resulting paste is then divided into small perfect rounds on a pastry board and baked.
Nevertheless, the original recipe from the Macaroon Sisters has been kept secret for generations. Thus, if you fancy Lorraine Macarons delightfully soft and melting in the mouth, the only way to get some is to go to the "Maison des Soeurs Macarons", the only store where you can find the authentic French treats, situated rue Gambetta in Nancy!
The Macarons are today highly appreciated for their mouth-watering brown and cracked exterior and their crunchy and soft, yet "sticky", meringue inside.
Provided the success of the Lorraine cookie, the Parisian confectioner Ladurée created a new, rich version of the Macaron: looking like small sweet sandwiches, the "Macarons Ladurée" consists in two almond macaroons paired with a flavoured buttercream, ganache or jam filling.