Bon Macaron Patisserie

Baking

New Flavour: Blueberry Cheesecake

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Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons! These blue-eyed beauties feature real blueberries and sweet cream cheese. They are *quite* a bit lighter than actual cheesecake, much easier to eat with your hands, and every bit as delicious! Now, we do love actual cheese cake.  And we particularly love New York Cheesecake, but France of course has its own incredible version, in the Tarte Au Fromage Blanc from the Alsace region of France. We found a fantastic classic recipe on The Happy Foodie blog, by Racheal Koo, as well as this one below that incorporates applesauce, from Martha Stewart.


INGREDIENTS

DOUGH
        1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
        3 tablespoons sugar
        1 tablespoon active dry yeast (from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
        1/2 cup warm water
        1 large egg yolk
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for bowl and pan

FILLING
        1 cup sugar, divided
        1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
        1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) farmer cheese, room temperature
        1/2 cup (4 ounces) creme fraiche, room temperature
        1 large egg yolk, plus 3 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
        1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
        1/2 cup applesauce

DIRECTIONS
    1.    Dough: Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, water, egg yolk, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until a dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Add butter, and mix until incorporated, about 3 minutes (dough will be sticky). Transfer dough to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, cover, and let rise 30 minutes. Refrigerate dough, still in bowl and covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
    2.    Punch down dough. Roll out into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a buttered 9 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing dough up to rim of pan. Prick dough all over with a fork, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise 30 minutes.
    3.    Filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lowest position. Whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the flour. Whisk together farmer cheese, creme fraiche, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla; stir in sugar mixture, then butter, with a wooden spoon.
    4.    Beat egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high, and gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until medium glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Fold half the egg whites into cheese mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites.
    5.    Spread applesauce in crust, and pour filling on top of applesauce. Bake 30 minutes, then check crust; if it is starting to brown significantly, tent edge with foil. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is puffed, golden, and just set (it should barely wobble when very lightly shaken), about 25 minutes. Let cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack 1 hour. Unmold tart, and let cool at least 30 minutes. Tart is best served slightly warm but can also be served at room temperature.

 

New Flavour: Gingerbread

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Ok, we know it's not quite December yet, but... Gingerbread!! This is a little teaser for our 2015 Holiday Collection—gingerbread is now available in all the shops!  And to be fair, it is kind of feeling wintery out there these days. 

According to our friends at wikipedia, Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis. By the 15th century, Germany had its very own Gingerbread Guild, and by the 17th century Nuremberg was known as the "Gingerbread Capital of the World" for the works of edible art it was creating with the spiced bread! If you'd like to try your hand at this illustrious foodstuff—and the even more glorious (we think) tradition of shaping it into adorable houses—Martha Stewart, as always has some good tips for you.

Martha Stewart's Swedish Gingerbread House How-To >>

Halloween at Bon Macaron

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Happy Halloween!! We have 3 excellent reasons for you to brave the weather this dark and stormy All Hallow’s Eve. 1) Our new flavour this week is CARAMEL APPLE. (We're kind of excited.)

2) We've finished our hand-decorated Spooky Macarons!

3) Bon Macaron Trick or Treating is officially in effect!! Kids under 12 in costume get a free macaron and big kids—otherwise known as adults—in costume will find an extra macaron in every 6 pack they purchase!

We're open today until until 6 today in Victoria and Kits, and until 7 at Granville Island so you've still got time to stock up on treats!

National Dessert Day

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It's National Dessert Day! We of course, personally, feel there is NO BETTER dessert than the lovely macaron. (They are an especially great, virtually weightless dessert if you, like some of us (ahem), are still feel full from Thanksgiving! )

However, when it comes to other kinds of desserts, few people do them quite like Mimi Thorisson. We first introduced you to her blog Manger a few months back, but honestly it's worth a second look—today of all days :) So here's another round of her absolutely stunning recipes.

POMEGRANATE MERINGUES

New Flavour: Strawberry Grapefruit Verbena

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We put sooo much flavour in this week’s new macaron: Strawberry Grapefruit Verbena. Your tastebuds won’t even know where to begin, but we promise it will be a delightful and delicious experience! The verbena is from our friends at Happy Valley Lavender Farm, just outside Victoria. Verbena is an amazing and super versatile little leaf and Martha Stewart, bless her, has a whole range of simple recipes and projects that use it. A few that stood out for us were:

Roasted-Fruit Salad with Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup

Verbena Tea

...and these pretty scented Envelope Sachets

A Few of Our Classics

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We’re always excited to let you know about our new flavours. But today we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the flavours that have been in our macaron cases from day one (or close to!), and which are pretty much guaranteed to always be there. People come back for these time and time again, and we have to admit we're pretty partial to them ourselves! Read on to learn more about what goes into these Bon Macaron classics.

Nutella: This is one of our most popular—everybody knows and loves Nutella. We use Nutella and buttercream, and then we roast hazelnuts to sprinkle on top.

Rose: We use the roses from Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm as a decoration, and the filling is butter cream with rose syrup, and a little bit of rose jam.

Salted Caramel: The caramel sauce is our own simple recipe: salted butter, sugar, and whipping cream. And we have the sauce available to be purchased in jars!

Bacon Cream Cheese: This one is cream cheese, of course, with real bacon that we cook ourselves and grind into tiny little bacon bits.

White Truffle and Sea Salt: We use cream cheese for this one, too, and we get our truffle oil from Olive the Senses at Victoria Public Market.

Lavender: Like the rose petals, the lavender is from Happy Valley, and we simply grind it up and mix it with the butter cream.

Goat Cheese and Fig: Another really simple one. These are made with chevre that we mix with some fig spread. It’s a good one for people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk!

Pistachio: This one is butter cream whipped with pistachio paste—a real French classic!

 

And there you have it! A few of our all time favourites :)

Flavour Profile: Taro Blueberry

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We've got some beautiful, new marbled Taro and Blueberry Macarons for you! What is taro, some might ask? It's a root crop (like yams!) that is grown in loads of different, often tropical countries around the world. It tastes a lot like vanilla and one of its most common uses 'round these parts is as a bubble tea flavour. These would look amazing on any table. Or on a picnic blanket. Or in your hand for the 10 seconds they last after you take them out of the box to eat them ;) We were also thinking it's been a while since we posted a recipe, and it sorrrt of feels like it might be a cozy, pancakes kind of weekend (must be the rain and that ever so slightly fall-ish feel) so we tracked down what looks like an excellent "Oven-Baked Blueberry Pancake" recipe on good old MarthaStewart.com.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 3/4 cup whole milk 1 large egg, room temperature 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for pan 1 cup blueberries (about 5 ounces) Confectioners' sugar, for serving Maple syrup, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in upper third. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other nonstick ovenproof pan) in oven. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together milk, egg, and melted butter in another bowl. Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
  2. Remove skillet from oven and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, swirling to coat. Pour in batter and smooth top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle evenly with blueberries and remaining 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  3. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 5 minutes before dusting with confectioners' sugar and serving with syrup.

Flavour Profile: Rhubarb

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Happy Friday! This weekend you get to sink your teeth into some slightly tart and lightly sweet Rhubarb Macarons!  Rhubarb just seems like the essence of warm, relaxed summer gardens these days, but way back in the murky depths of time it was a *very* hot commodity. A C.1404 report from a Spanish ambassador stationed in Timur claimed: "The best of all merchandise coming to Samarkand was from China: especially silks, satins, musk, rubies, diamonds, pearls, and rhubarb..." (Our emphasis.) So don't underestimate the value of these macarons! ;) We'll leave you with one more awesome rhubarb-related fact: traditionally, when British stage and film actors needed to simulate the sound of background chatter they would all repeat the word 'rhubarb' over and over again—and sometimes someone would punctuate things by saying 'custard'! Just picture everyone running around the stage of London's Globe Theatre  all, "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb"

Enjoy the long weekend :)

Our People: Yann, Owner

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A couple of months ago now (time flies!!) we spoke to David, and now it's Yann's turn. :) Yann Fougere is the other half of Bon Macaron, and he's shared some of his own favourite "food things and French things" as well as his story of coming to Canada and opening Bon Macaron.

What's your favourite part of France?

Paris. It has to be Paris. I mean, France is so different from region to region. I haven’t been to the East much, I should because my grandmother is from there, but I’m more into the South, where David is from. Both the South East and the South West. The food in the South West is amazing, and you have the surfing. I used to go camping there with friends around when I was finishing high school. But Paris is just something on its own. I’d say the centre is my favourite, the area around Notre Dame. You have the Marais on one side, Saint-Michel on the other, there are tonnes of small restaurants. You can walk forever. There’s always something to do there, whether it’s exhibitions, movies, parties, whatever you feel like. And the Jardin du Luxembourg—I used to call it my garden when I was a kid because I would go there and play soccer with my friends and with my Dad all the time. As far as restaurants and cafes, there are loads of small places that have been there for a long time. There’s one next to where my parents live, a wine bar. The advantage of wine bars in Paris is that, while the menu is going to be smaller, you know that it’s been made in-house. You don’t have twenty different items to choose from but what they have, they know exactly where it came from. My best friend there owns one, Comme Chai Toi, and when you go there, the menu is written in chalk and it depends on what they’ve found that day. And it’s right next to Notre Dame so you get the view, too.

What do you miss as far as food and what do you like to cook here?

One thing I really miss from France—though you’re starting to be able to find it here—is steak tartare. The raw steak with the condiments and the sauces: some restaurants prepare it really well and that’s the first thing I eat when I go back to France. There’s a really wide variety of meat in France, too. You can get duck easily, rabbit, all kinds of game. I used to cook more. With the shop it’s hard. And my fiancé cooks very well, so that doesn’t encourage me to cook! [laughs] But one dish I really like to make is gnocchi with blue cheese sauce, or with brown butter sage. You just put it in the oven with a little bit of parmesan on top, and crème fraîche… It’s not very light, though. When I cook it’s not very light, you have cream, you have butter…

How did you end up over here in Victoria?

I graduated from high school in Paris and decided I wanted to see a bit more of France, so I went to the South for a couple of years and started my business degree there, which is where I met David. I had the opportunity to transfer, which allowed me get my bachelor’s degree from two universities. I thought about going to Montreal but I wanted to be able to practice my English. And I didn’t want the minus forty degrees. UVic has an entrepreneurship program that they’re very well known for, and which sounded really interesting to me. So I came to UVic for my last two years. It turned out I was able to do an exchange from there, too—so I did six months in Hong Kong. And then I took the co-op option. I looked all around the world for programs, which lead me to Namibia, where I spent six months taking care of public relations for the National Art Gallery there. And then I came back to do my last semester at UVic.

And what lead to Bon Macaron?

Just as I graduated, the cafe where I was working, Vieux Montreal, closed. So I had to find a job. My parents basically told me, "If you’re staying over there you’d better find yourself a job, we’re not going to be paying for your condo." I actually worked at Macchiato for a month and a half, and then customers I knew from Vieux Montreal heard that they were looking for a manager at Murchie's. They introduced me to the chef, who’s also French, and we got along really well. I stayed at Murchie's for four years. They helped me get my permanent residency. They had so many different pastries but when they started selling macarons I noticed how popular they were. And I realized the flavour possibilities were literally endless. David and I wanted to start a business. We had thought about taking over Vieux Montreal, but there are so many products with a full bakery and so much knowledge you need to start with—the different breads, the croissants—and we wanted something where we could have complete control of the process, and run it easily with just the two of us. It took a while to find the right location and for everything to happen, but then it all came together at once: we got the property, my permanent residency came through, and we were like, ‘Ok, let’s go for it.’ We thought that we’d be busy that first December and that January would slow down, but at the beginning of January we got the cover of the business edition of the Times Colonist. The Saturday it came out… everybody came in that day. And that triggered quite a lot of press. CTV News came and shot for their Monday segment, we did a couple of CBC radio spots. Eat Magazine, blogs, all these people started mentioning us and that really got the ball rolling.

And now Bon Macaron is expanding to Vancouver, which is very exciting! 

We had a booth in front of the new Kitsilano location during Greek Day—that was our start in Vancouver and we should officially open before the end of July! David and I and our new manager are going to be making a lot of macarons for the opening. And the odds are that for the first days after that, until we hire someone else, it’s just going to be me in that big new kitchen…

Do you see macarons when you close your eyes at night??

It’s not even just the baking, it’s what recipes I have to make, what’s getting low, what ingredients needs to be ordered, what orders are going out—we’ve been getting a lot of big orders lately with weddings and baby showers. I have dreams about it all.

Flavour Profile: Key Lime

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Great news everyone—our latest flavour is Key Lime! Rumour (aka Wikipedia) has it that key lime pies actually originated just off the Florida Keys on the boats of sponge fishermen, early in the 20th century. On the sea for days, the fishermen would typically have supplies like condensed milk, key limes, and eggs. But they didn't have ovens, and the neat thing about key lime pie is that it technically doesn't need cooking because of a reaction between the acidity in lime juice and condensed milk. Most versions today are cooked, though, as are our Key Lime Macarons!

Recommended Read: Manger Blog

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For the love of food things and French things... we had to share this blog with you. A few years back Mimi Thorisson moved with her husband and tiny kidlets from Paris to Medoc, deep in the countryside of France. And she started to cook a lot. Like, a LOT. Meanwhile, her photographer husband Oddur Thorisson was capturing it all. So what happens when you take brilliant photography, a lovely old farmhouse, gorgeous land, impossibly cute kids, truly wonderful food and some warm and heartfelt writing?? You get Manger! Fair warning: be prepared for a *bit* of lifestyle envy.

We picked out a few incredible dessert recipes for you, but she does the whole food gamut, from mollusks to blancmange. (Actually she doesn't seem to have done blancmange, but you get the picture.) She also has a fantastic looking cookbook: A KITCHEN IN FRANCE, A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse .

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! (You'll still come visit our little blog sometimes, though... right??)

A Few Desserts from Manger

GARDEN CAKE

All images by Oddur Thorisson.