Thursday, March 5, 2009

Authentic Macarons Des Soeurs From City of Nancy

There is only one authentic macaron in all of France. It is from the city of Nancy in the Lorraine region. While many pastry shops in Nancy and throughout France will sell macarons, the original and authentic macarons recipe is from the Macarons des Soeurs, the nuns who created this almond cookie in 1793.

It remains a secret recipe to this day. While the basic ingredients are simple, egg whites, ground almonds and sugar, which are piped into circles on a baking sheet, getting a perfect cookie, light as air with a thin crunchy crust and a moist inside is tricky. So is getting the cookie to crackle just right. You'll probably notice that most macarons sold outside of Nancy do not have the characteristic cracks. The Macarons des Soeurs are never stuffed or sandwiched with ganache like the macarons Ladurée later created.

The Macarons de Nancy are the type of macarons I ate when I was living in France and they are one of my favorite treats. They are often imitated, but never equaled.

Photos from Flickr public files; click to enlarge and hover for credits

Related Posts On Joy Of Desserts:
Ladurée One of Paris' First Tea Salons
Boucheron Immortalizes Ladurée's Macarons


  1. My great, great grandfather was once the mayor of Nancy! My great grandmother emigrated to the U.S. with those very nuns.

  2. Wow! That is so interesting, Amanda! What a small world too. Those are my favorite macarons (their bergamote too) and I even met a few of those nuns when I was a child. It sounds like you would have a very interesting immigration story to tell. Nancy and the Lorraine region are very beautiful and they have given us some really great food specialties.

  3. Unfortunately I don't know much more than that. I will have to try to get more info from my grandmother--she's very quiet about her family's history.

    I do know that there was some kind of arranged marriage for my great-grandmother, but she met and fell in love with my poor great-grandfather (who emigrated from Nice) in New York City, where a duel was fought. It was quite a scandal at the time, and my g'ma continues to keep most details about that to herself.

    AND her mother didn't teach her to cook--she was a spoiled only child. I mourn the loss of such a rich culinary heritage.

  4. Oh my, I gained 5 pounds just looking in the window!

  5. Amanda, the more I hear, the more I think it is fascinating. This is what great novels are made of: duels, love stories, scandals, exotic cities on two continents, etc. Sounds like a great epic! I hope you can talk your grandma into telling you as much as she knows so that you can pass it down to your family's future generations. It would be a shame to lose such a treasure. As for the culinary heritage, never fear, you seem to have taught yourself well and with all the cookbooks, travel and history books, and the wonderful Internet, you can turn this loss into a great opportunity for education and fun. You will appreciate it a lot more, rather than take it all for granted as we are all otherwise prone to do.

    Tamy, don't worry about gaining weight! These are FRENCH windows. They are miraculous. No one ever gets fat in France. ;-)

  6. I was born in Nancy in a bomb shelter during WWll,macarons were always my favorites,but in my childhood almost impossible to have,now when I go home to visit, I stock up, I buy quite a lot of almond powder to bring back with me!I still love marzipan and make my own macarons,but they are not quite the same,I don't know the "secret"

  7. Anonymous: Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Quite interesting. I also wish I had the "secret." They are among my absolute favorites and I love just about all desserts/sweets made with almonds.


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