guest post: the journey to macaron perfection

As you read this, I’m either (a) relaxing by the pool at a fabulous hotel in Las Vegas, (b) window shopping for incredibly expensive shoes,  (c) trying to extract my husband from the craps table, or (d) recovering from a way-too-expensive but incredibly delicious meal. So, while I’m doing one or all of those things (and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably know what I’m up to)  I’m happy to introduce you to a friend of mine from Twitter and the food blogging world – Mardi from  If you don’t know Mardi already, here’s your opportunity to learn a bit. And please, go visit her blog,, sometime – you’ll be very happy you did!

I have a confession to make that regular readers of my blog, eat. live. travel. write. will not be surprised to read. My name is Mardi and I am obsessed with macarons. The quest for the perfect macaron began before I even knew it. When I lived in Paris, I would quite often go to Storher and buy one of these for my afternoon tea:

This was in the mid 1990s, long before the macaron was en vogue outside France. I guess I got used to them being available so it was kind of a shock to me when I moved to Canada in 2000 where they were nowhere to be found. I took advantage of our yearly trips to France to indulge my obsession and it never really crossed my mind to attempt to make them at home. Until last year.

My first attempts were not so promising (though the second batch at least had feet):

And of course there was the famous cimtière des macarons:

Desperate measures were required because all these attempts were only serving to frustrate me more and more. I took myself along to the Pavillion Elysée Lenôtre for a workshop last Christmas to learn from the masters.

With that knowledge under my belt, I returned “motivée” as they say in France, to succeed. I even bought some reading matter home with me:

My next two rounds were a success:

The third time was not quite the charm. In fact it took me FIVE batches to get them right…

But after that, I figured out the proportions/ ratios that work for me. And started to experiment with colours and flavors as my confidence grew.

I am by no means an expert and am about to tackle macarons as per Pierre Hermé’s method this summer so am expecting a LOT of trial and error there. But it’s been such rewarding journey so far. For no matter how finicky and temperamental they are, the feeling you get when you peek in the oven at the 6 minute mark just before you turn them around, when you see the little feet forming it is priceless. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again (and maybe again!). Here is the recipe that finally worked for me – it’s from Hélène of Tartelette but is actually very similar in quantities to the one I used at Lenôtre. My notes are included there also.

Never tried making macarons? Intimidated? Go on – you know you want to. And let’s face it – they can’t be worse than some of my attempts!

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24 Responses to “meyer lemon curd marbled cheesecake”

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 3, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    You said the magic word… cheesecake. And with meyer lemon thrown into the mix, I find myself drooling uncontrollably while looking at these wonderful pictures.

  2. Belinda — January 3, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    It was extremely yummy! I was there and had a slice! 🙂

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  4. JulieD — January 3, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    It looks wonderful and reminds me of a key lime cheesecake I once had…I think you inspired me to try to make it. I’m glad you got to spend more time with your family this holiday season. Happy New Year!

  5. doctorbobster — January 3, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    Nice essay and, as usual, beautifully photographed.

  6. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — January 3, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    My all time favorite cheesecake has a lemon layer on top and I love the simplicity because I really prefer this dessert not loaded up with candy or chocolate but served as you have; with some fresh fruit.

    I’m getting some Meyer Lemons; so excited…and think I have to make both the curd and this cheesecake for a Denver area bloggers meeting the end of this month; it’s doable for brunch right? 🙂

  7. Kristina @ spabettie — January 3, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

    two of my favorite things… anything Meyer Lemon and… cheesecake. this looks wonderful.

  8. Liz the Chef — January 3, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    An instant addition to my Meyer lemon recipe collection!!!

  9. Stephanie — January 3, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    That lemon curd is to die for so I can imagine how it must add to the cheesecake! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Baking Barrister — January 3, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    I disagree with Brian up there: the magic wordS are “meyer lemon curd”–the cheesecake is just a bonus. This is going in my arsenal–and I’m whipping it out next time my brother requests lemon meringue pie because this has got to be a million times better.

  11. Jennifer (Savor) — January 3, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    ohh….I NEED a slice!

  12. Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef — January 3, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    I am weeping that I can’t have a Meyer lemon tree in the northeast… 🙁

  13. megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 3, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

    This sounds like the perfect cheesecake! So light and fresh. Looks beautiful!

  14. ~Citra~ — January 4, 2011 @ 5:09 am

    O o o o … What a yummy scrumptious good looking piece ! I should try this recipe soon ^_^

  15. Joy — January 4, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    I love love meyer lemons. That looks so good.

  16. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — January 5, 2011 @ 6:46 am

    Meyer lemons are one of my favorites. Sweet and tart, this year the cold has intensified the flavor of the citrus so they will make your already wonderful cheesecake pop! Good luck with the calibrations, I truly empathize.

  17. Heather (The Menu Mama) — January 5, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    This looks amazing. Also, your chocolate chip cookie picture at the top of your blog is a bad influence. I’m seriously trying to resist the urge to run to the kitchen and whip up a batch of cookies right now.

  18. briarrose — January 5, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    Oh wonderful lemon cheesecake. Beautiful job. This looks fresh and lovely.

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  24. Maggie Winter — October 9, 2013 @ 12:00 am

    I’ve just made this cheesecake tonight, it is so good and such an easy recipe to follow, I’m going to explore your site more thanks so much.

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