New York’s macaron mania shows no signs of abating, so with our fellow aficionados in mind, ForknPlate set out to find Manhattan’s best. Here are our top five in order of preference based on a tasting and comparison of four classic flavors: pistachio, chocolate, salted caramel, and raspberry.
Want to know more about what a macaron is? Click here for a quick history lesson on what is a macaron.
A third-generation pastry chef recognized as a Maitre Patissier de France among other honors, Franc̡ois Payard has perfected the balance of crisp wafer and creamy filling. An enticing array of macarons adjoins the exquisite pastries that gleam like Tiffany jewels in the glass cases of his chic UES tea salon. Payard offers all the favorites, as well as seasonal choices that are innovative without betraying his classical training. His macaron ice cream sandwich, offered during the summer, was a cool innovation in every way.
The talented young patissier Christina Ha comes in a very close second. Her macarons are best described as “pillowy” — the delicate crunch of the shell yielding to rich yet subtle ganache. Ha’s inventive range of creations definitely belongs to the Pierre Hermé school of macaron making. Her red velvet macaron is inspired. But candied bacon with maple cream cheese, the Elvis and the Cheetos™ flavors may be acquired tastes — just as salted caramel once was.
This modest, pleasantly funky shop on the outskirts of Chelsea turns out excellent macarons from the dedicated pastry chef Pascal Goupil. Goupil seems to be a perfectionist when it comes to freshness. His raspberry macaron tastes like a delicate coulis made with summer berries. The graham-cracker key lime is equally refreshing, and pink Champagne wins the vote as fan favorite.
Although bisousciao could improve its quality control – its wafers are sometimes underdone – the intense fillings will please those who like more chew in their confections. Chef Tanya Ngangan’s pedigree includes Cordon Bleu Paris and Fauchon. Her signature salted caramel is a true, thick caramel flecked with French sea salt. The strong salt and sugar levels of these macarons are geared to the American palate.
Since founder Pichet Ong’s departure, Sugar and Plumm’s macaron output has become less reliable. On any given day, the cookie shell is light and the ratio of filling just right; on the next, it’s mush. Nevertheless, despite the garish colors of the shells, its buttercream and ganache fillings are generally satisfying. Demerits for seeds in the jam-like raspberry. Perhaps the new executive pastry chef and master chocolatier Thierry Atlan, who took over in August, will right the ship.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Are there ones you think should have been included? Share in the comments below!