Millet, sorghum, fonio, peanut, millet and okra are some of the ingredients that make African cuisine so unique.
Here is a recipe that features one of these staple ingredients. Yes, even in Sudan, macarons are popular! And given the fact that Sudan is one of the main producers of peanuts, we are going to make peanut macarons called ful sudani!
Unless you’ve lived under the rock for the past twenty years, you couldn’t have escaped the trend and the madness around macarons lately! They come in all colors and all flavors. Pastry chefs have gone overboard to stand out and create new versions of macarons, both savory than sweet.
But the macaron (also called “Parisian macaron”) has a story and the story of this little round pastry is not limited to these two small shells that enclose a ganache or jam…
The true and original macaron is a round and little grainy pastry, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It can be both plain and flavored depending on the recipe.
It always includes three essential ingredients:
– Icing sugar
– Egg whites
Depending on the country, the recipe or the origins, you can find macarons where almonds were replaced by ground coconut, peanuts or hazelnuts.
To know the origin of this very ancient pastry, let’s go on a historic journey to the heart of civilization…
According to certain sources, the macaron recipe appeared for the first time in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, in the 15th century under the name “Louzieh”, a confectionery from Umayyad which was offered by pastry chefs to an Ottoman caliph.
But let’s go back to Europe!
We are in the Middle Ages and macaron made its first entry into the European scene in Venice, Italy, a bit like Tiramisu. This was the time when the maritime traffic was booming. Foreign delicacies were brought back by explorers. Among them, a small soft and crunchy pastry that Italians call “maccherone” (thin crust) which became “macaron” in French.
It was during the Renaissance that these treats were introduced in France by Catherine de Medici, on the occasion of her marriage with the Duke of Orleans, the future King of France. Everything went very quickly from there. Macaron fast became a specialty from several regions in France, that compete for its paternity until today.
There are two versions of macarons. The classic macaron which I just mentioned, and the Parisian macaron.
If I mention “Pierre Desfontaine”, will that ring a bell? Probably not…. But if I mention “Louis Ernest Ladurée”, I am sure it will. Pierre is none other than the grandson of Ernest Louis, and is the inventor of the famous “Parisian macaron”, the one of the famous French luxury bakery and sweets maker house!
In the early twentieth century, a new presentation of the macaron was invented in Paris. Pierre Desfontaine combines two shells between which he inserts a ganache.
The Parisian macaron, small, large or heart-shaped, comes in the most extravagant flavors: rose petals, Yunnan tea, ginger, apricot or viola just to name a few.
So what about Sudan and its macarons? I loved the taste and the texture of peanuts.
At home, the success of ful sudani was not immediate… My men were not that ecstatic when I told them that my macarons were made with ground peanuts. They initially agreed to taste them to please me… but once they tried them, they loved them!
- 2 cups unsalted peanuts
- 3 egg whites
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Roast peanuts.
- Remove their skin by rubbing vigorously between your hands.
- Grind them until reaching a grainy texture (not fine powder).
- Split the vanilla bean in half, remove the seeds and mix with peanuts.
- Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
- Lower the power of the food processor and add the icing sugar very slowly in small quantities.
- Finally incorporate the peanuts.
- On a baking sheet with parchment paper, place small and well spaced spoonfuls of the dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- The macarons should be lightly colored.