Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Pierre Hermé – Macaron Ispahan

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So I begin my macaron tasting adventure with Pierre Herme’s macarons, and it’s a piece which does not need elaborate introduction, one whose name and fame precedes it. Macaron ispahan has been synonymously associated with Pierre Hermé for the longest time, though this unique combination of flavours were actually developed by Christine Ferber, a fellow French patissier whom I hold with the highest esteem for her ingenuinity of creating flavour combinations and art of making confitures. I had a brush of luck when I encountered her confitures in Taiwan but I decidedly gave it a miss. A bludy stoopid blooper now in retrospect. but that’s another story for another time.
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Ispahan was incidentally, one of Ferber’s confiture creations which inspired PH so much that he created  a “Fetish”, a whole line of delicious pastries out of it, from giantic petit gateau-sized macarons to tarts to croissants.

Rose, raspberries and lychee… who would have guessed.


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The macarons tasted beautifully., with all the flavours marrying into one another so well. Rose was the most prominant flavour here, being used in the buttercream filling. Singing high on the aromatic notes, one easily gets swept into the multitudes of imagery conjured when savouring the piece. A stroll in a rose garden on a moonlit night, and its almost dawn but not quite, as the petals are embellished with dew glistening like diamonds under the pale moonlight. From afar, a nightingale serenades her last song for the night before taking flight. That’s the Scheherazade-like imagery keeps getting played and replayed in my head whenever I taste something “ispahanish”. Don’t ask me why, because I can’t explain it myself. But the aroma is ethereal.

Lychees are introduced as miniscule morsels embedded within the buttercream. Their presence is noticeable in a very non-obtrusive manner. So finely brunoised they were, one almost has to press between the tongue and the soft palate to find them.
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Freeze-dried raspberries (FDRs) were used as the core, a variation to the framboise gelée used in the recipe from his books. It reminded me of my recent adventure to recreate PH’s Macaron Jardin Enchanté. A little “yipee” in my heart as I knew my instincts were right with the FDRs for this new macaron. And the motivation for the change? I’m speculating that FDRs  were used to replace the  gelée for several reasons.

(1) FDRs are highly highly intoxicating in both aroma and taste. They are very potent stuff and could go very wrong when not used properly. All the flavours are being compacted into those tiny spongy lumps as the moistuare was being sucked out. This results in little flavour bombs with everything sealed in all at once.

(ii) Semi-reconstitution of the FDRs wih remnant moisture from the buttercream alters the texture dramatically. Don’t eat FDRs on their own. They taste a tad too chewy and somewhat rubbery, if not the flavours too intense and acrid for pleasure. I know of folks who would look all sqiurmish when you pop a fresh raspberry into their mouths. I would absolutely love to see them eat FDRs raw! But a semi-reconstitution of FDR is a totally different animal altogether. Mellowed and tamed in flavours, as well as being softened considerably to homogenise with its complimentary ingredients. It worked so so beautifully.
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The shells are not very pretty yes, but very very well-made. The texture was perfect with the right crunch as one first sinks his teeth into it. An ever so slight chewiness to the coques as they yield under pressure causing the buttercream to be pushed laterally towards the cheek ends before reuniting with the bits of almond biscuit under the works of the teeth and the tongue. Yes, close your eyes and enjoy the moment. I most certainly did.
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Now I know why Ispahan is so highly raved by folks who’d tried it. Believe me, it is not a cliché.

Related posts

Macarons from Pierre Hermé and Ladurée – a Sneak Preview

Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Jardin Enchanté – a reconstruction

Pierre Hermé’s Tarte Ispahan

Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan

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23 responses

  1. I love rose. I’ve done these also with white chocolate… But have not done ph ones with the lychees. I’m imagining the sweet and sour pop of those FDR’s. Can taste it now at 7am. With a cup of rose tea. Christine Ferber…saw old post from chocolate and zucchini sept 7 2004. Wonder how things of changed.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      ah yes, white chocolate filling would work too, but in this case, i think buttercream did a wonderful job as a carrier of the rose flavour.

      April 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm

  2. I just made some Lychee and Lime Soda drink, so i can imagine your macarons must be full of flavours! Beautiful macarons!

    April 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      ah, they are full of flavour indeed. Unfortunately, i didnt make these. They are the real Pierre Herme Macarons. 🙂

      April 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  3. Alan, you’re just slowing killing me with your one at a time review!!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hahaha… well, I try to be as meticulous as possible, though some people would probably hate me for it. LOL
      No one’s adopted this approach in reviewing macarons so I thought why not give it a shot. 🙂

      April 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

  4. Alan, your description was so wonderful I could almost taste it! My goal is to taste on of the real ones before I die!

    April 14, 2012 at 6:10 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Matina! glad you like it!

      April 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

  5. Dan

    WOW! Your writing is like sweet music to my ears!! I still have to try the master Herme’s macarons – those pics look delicious.

    April 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Dan, and welcome to my blog. 🙂

      April 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    • Hi Alan, thank you for the welcome! I am a bit disappointed that you’d censor my comment though. I think it was relevant and on topic, adding to the conversation. But i guess it’s your blog so you get to decide what your readers can and can’t see. 😉

      April 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        Hi Daniel, we try to keep our blog clean of advertorials whenever possible. Thanks for your kind understanding.

        However, we do reviews as well. So if you would like us to take a look at your macaron publication and do a feature on it, do let me know. 🙂

        April 17, 2012 at 8:10 am

  6. Pingback: Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan « travellingfoodies

  7. These look delicious, dying to taste one now! 🙂

    April 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Oh yeah, they are delicious indeed. i was a skeptic, then I became a believer of PH macarons.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

  8. i hate uuuuu!!!! pass some over leh..

    April 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha I’m sure you can make macs of the same quality, if not better!

      April 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

  9. Pingback: Paul Lafayet @ K11 Tsimshatsui Hong Kong « travellingfoodies

  10. Hi
    I notice you have a fair few Pierre herme books. Do you have the new Pastries book. Others have reviewed it as having a few errors, so just wondering if you have it or not and can tell me if it is ok to buy.

    June 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

  11. They look great. I also made these macarons. Check them out on my blog.
    http://sosweetpatissier.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/ispahan-macaron-rose-raspberry-lychee.html

    September 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

  12. Pingback: Macarons from Pierre Hermé @ Hong Kong IFC | travellingfoodies

  13. Fariba

    “Ispahan “. c’ est le nom d’ une belle ville en Iran,avec plein de roses.
    C’est pour ca que vous nomez cette macaron ” Ispahan”

    August 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm

  14. Fariba

    “Ispahan “. c’ est le nom d’ une belle ville en Iran,avec plein de roses.
    C’est pour ca que vous nomez cette macaron ” Ispahan”???

    S, il vous plais , donnez moi la reponse

    August 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm

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