When I went to Paris last spring, the most delectable indulgence discovered was a cookie called a Macaron (note the one “o”, not two: the macaroon is a completely different animal). In Paris you can actually buy les Macarons in stores dedicated to them, of which the most famous is Pierre Hermes. These sublime concoctions are displayed in cases like beautiful jewels and are made in the most incredible colours and flavours. Lines form out the door to purchase these extravagant treats, even though one cookie costs 2 euros, and a slender box of 7 costs 15 euros.
I thought that only the French would take such time and care to perfect these jewelled morsels, and so what a pleasant surprise it was to discover that in my grandmother’s 80 year old Slovak cookbook was a recipe for them, called Pusedle. I’ve also learned that macarons were around in France in the late 1800’s.
Pusedle literally translates into little pile, as best I can tell. The cookies are made up of two little piles of baked meringue filled with a creamy ganache center. When baked, the meringues are like little parachutes, smooth and round on the outside side, with crinkly edges and hollow shells on the inside.
In the Slovak recipe, the pusedle are not coloured. However, in Paris, the cookies were coloured with food colouring or chocolate, and then filled with a wide variety of flavored ganache fillings such as lemon, chocolate, olive oil and vanilla, fleur de sel and caramel, litchi and rose, pistachio, earl grey tea, etc.
I have two versions of the recipe for the Pusedle – so take your pick. The latter recipe is more like the French Macaron. The fillings are the same for each.
2 eggs whites
250 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
4 egg whites
400 g sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
400 g ground almonds
1 package vanilla sugar
4 egg yolks
2 lemons – rind and juice
250 g. powdered sugar
2 spoons vanilla sugar
125 g. Butter
- Whip the egg whites to a stiff snow.
- Gradually add the sugar, then lemon juice, ground nuts and vanilla sugar.
- Mix well, and then spoon a little onto a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet into little piles – the pusedle.
- Bake at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes
- Cool these little pusedle
- Mix the egg yolks with lemon rind, powdered sugar, vanilla suar and butter
- Mix until smooth and foamy
- Spread with a thick layer of the filling onto one pusedle
- carefully place two pusedle together
You can watch Martha Stewart make macarons here:
These cookies are best eaten within a day of making them; this should be a problem for you. The weather can affect the pusedle – if it is too humid, they will crack and sink. Set the eggwhites out (separated) at room temperature for at least 8 hours before whipping them. This will help make smooth and glossy cookies.