Saturday, 19 March 2016

Meet the Macaronut...

March 20th is Macaron Day. To celebrate, this year, renowned New York pastry chef Francois Payard has created the Macaronut. Yes, another fantastical food hybrid, following in the footsteps of the Cronut (croissant-doughnut), the Cruffin (croissant-muffin) and the Wonut (waffle-doughnut – simply: doughnuts cooked in a waffle maker). The Macaronut, as the name suggests, is the combination of the delicate, colourful macaron and the traditional round doughnut. Staying true to his French roots, Chef Payard is making the all-American doughnut a delicacy.

Payard Macaron Doughnut.jpg
Photo courtesy of The Stylist magazine

In reality, it’s simply a giant Macaron, in the shape of a traditional ring doughnut. Launching initially in strawberries and cream flavour, Chef Payard is expected to roll out many more flavours, both subtle and sublime. Perhaps an Oreo macaronut? Pistachio? Or variants on coffee flavours – the Mocha Macaronut? Whatever next!?

Made with Italian meringue (not French!), a hot sugar syrup is drizzled into to the whisking frothy egg whites. Colouring can be added once you have a shiny-peaked consistency, and the mixture has cooled. To this, ground almonds and icing sugar are added to form a paste, and this is then traditionally piped into circles and baked on a low heat. Once cooked, macarons are left to settle until there is a crispy shell and tender interior. I imagine that piping ring shapes will work just as well for the Macaronut. The filling is usually ganache or buttercream in the flavour of the month, so for Chef Payard’s Macaronuts, I'm guessing it’s strawberries and cream. Is it possible he has created a doughnut-flavoured ganache? Or perhaps it contains a strawberry jam filling; regular macarons are sometimes filled with artisan jams. Top with sprinkles and it looks just like a doughnut. But tastes like a macaron. Those elegant pops of Heaven, just on a grander scale.

Why, you may ask? Well, why not! It’s a beautiful, elegant, and fun dessert and not only that, it’s a worthy cause too. Donations from the sales of Macaronuts on March 20 will be given to the hunger charity City Harvest in New York. The charity link the food industry to countless companies and foundations to help feed over two million New Yorkers every year. In London too, City Harvest help put surplus food to good use in a sustainable way, by upcycling over two tons of food each week that would have been wasted to organisations that feed the hungry. Last year they delivered over a quarter of a million meals.

Macaronuts are just available Stateside for now, but I hope it won’t be too long before the UK follows suit and delivers the Macaronut to the macaron-loving masses. I will be first in the queue...

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