I grew up feasting on what I believe to be the ancestor of the French dessert called macaroons. Only recently I related macaroons with our roots.
Shortly before dying, my aunt Francisca (my grandmother’s first born) told us that our family had fled from persecution during the French Revolution and settled in Spain, where they acquired a new name, before coming to Portugal. Until recently the only proof I had was our Spanish name. Now I add to that the macaroons. It is curious how I had forgotten eating macaroon after macaroon during childhood.
I suspect the subjacent political justification under such move. As I am not that romantic or credulous, there has to be some other logical explanation for a family to cross a continent and change their name – eventually criminal. Only a well-kept family secret could explain leaving a home country with a one-way ticket.
These days I live in Africa. It is understandable that sooner or later I would experiment with my grandmother’s recipe. And even tough the final product is satisfactory, I am not yet sure of issues such as oven temperature and cooking time. I am betting on 180ºC for half an hour, but I couldn’t test it yet. Until now I’ve been getting very different results. The longer I bake them the harder they get. Still, here they are:
My Grandmother’s Macaroons with an African Twist
300g of cashew nuts (half crushed and half roughly slivered)
3 egg whites
3 tbsps. of castor sugar (if you like sugar you can double the amount)
Beat the whites adding one tablespoon of sugar at a time and continue until a marshmallow texture is reached. Gently fold the cashew nuts, trying to mix well and at the same time keep the lightness of the whites. You may use almonds as the usual recipe recommends.
Pour a generous tablespoon of the mix into a well-greased baking tray giving it a round shape and repeat until you finish. I slightly changed the amounts so that I could make different quantities depending on using one, two, three or more eggs, being three what I regard as a half recipe (around 20 macaroons).