Jennie Cooper talks to Francesca Gigg, one half of Frandie Macaron, about her love of baking these almond-sweet teatime treats
What are your foodie backgrounds?
Well, I am inspired by my mum, who is still in my eyes the best cook. She used to supply baked desserts to local businesses, then went on to have her own business making wedding cakes. So my background is a passion for home baking that I have turned into a living. My partner and best friend Andie Stanstell and her husband, Mark (who also bakes at Frandie Macaron), ran their own successful wine bar and bistro called Dominoes in Honiton (now The Holt) for about 10 years. Mark was the chef there and was always coming up with new homemade recipes. They both come from an extensive catering background.
How did it all begin?
We were two friends who wanted a new challenge. We took our love of baking (sprinkled, perhaps, with Andie’s slight obsession with macarons) to the next level. We used our spare time to practise baking them in our homes and moved forward from there.
Where are you based?
We are currently based at home. I live in Honiton and Andie lives in Stoford Water near Cullompton.
We both share a passion for baking, plus Andie's obession with macarons!
How do you make a macaron?
You need plenty of ground almonds, sugar, egg whites and persistence! You make an almond paste, then add either French or Italian meringue to make the batter, which is piped out to the desired size.
What is your favourite flavour?
Well, this is by far the most difficult question to answer – it changes weekly! Our Salted Caramel flavour is so indulgent, but Lemon Meringue is possibly my favourite. Andie’s current favourite is Coffee and Hazelnut, but that will change as we create new ones.
Where do you like to eat out in Devon?
When eating out locally The Railway is a great place to go, with its fantastic fish dishes. Local to Andie there is the Ashill Inn near Uffculme, a quaint country pub serving outstanding food in a great location.
Your top tip for making macarons?
Give them the time they need to form a skin before you bake them. Also get lots of practice!
Any local bakers you admire?
Shaldon Bakery’s famous Uglibun is great, especially for breakfast on an early morning. Also Cakeadoodledo, just off the Cathedral Green in Exeter, is the café to visit for scrumptious baked sweet treats.
Where can we find your tasty treats?
They are stocked at Ashburton Delicatessen and the River Cottage Canteen/Deli in Axminster. Future stockists will be listed on our website, where you can also order them direct.
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