Lemons: Lemon Macarons
It is time to lay my demons to rest. It is time to master the art of macarons. The theme for this months Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is lemons and I thought that was good enough excuse to get the egg whites out and make some lemon macarons. For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the past five months the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is a group of Australian bloggers making desserts once a month based on a theme. This month it’s the turn of Jennifer from Delicieux to host the blog hop and the theme is lemons.
When I first started writing my food blog and reading other food blogs I got a silly idea in my head that I couldn’t be a ‘real’ food blogger without mastering the art of the macaron. When I decided this, I had never even eaten one, I was just seduced by all of the beautiful photos on the blogs I was reading. In particular, the photos by Mardi at Eat.Live.Travel.Write and Stella from Brave Tart. I had numerous attempts that you can read about here, here and here. If nothing else it is worth a look for the photos of the absolutely disastrous first batch that couldn’t even be scraped off the baking paper!
Having had a rest from my quest to make a successful batch of macarons I won a copy of Mad About Macarons by Jill Colonna and have finally plucked up the courage to give it one last go. This was one last go because if they didn’t work this time, that was it, I was done with macarons.
Armed with a whole book dedicated to the little blighters the challenge was set. As with all the other attempts I felt like I followed the recipe to the letter. I knew some of my past mistakes, which included under mixing the batter, so I threw in a couple of extra stirs for good measure.
Once the egg whites have been whipped with the caster sugar and the almond meal and icing sugar have been added and thoroughly mixed through it is time to pipe. I’m not well practiced in the art of piping so I drew circles on the baking paper so I could gauge the size. Despite this, the macarons still varied wildly in size.
The macarons were baked for 10-12 minutes without the fan on in the oven, so one tray were a little darker than the other. I turned the fan off because I have had baked goods resembling the famous tower of Pisa due to the vicious strength of my fan.
When I eventually opened the oven I think the whole neighbourhood heard my squeals of delight when I discovered I had feet! The macarons had risen to the perfect height to give the little lip at the bottom known as ‘feet’ in the world or macarons.
So the macaron shells aren’t strictly the lemon part of this dish, although I did colour them yellow to give the eater the impression of lemon. The lemon flavour comes from the filling. The recipe suggested a lemon butter cream or lemon curd filling. With my new found love of curd, it had to be the lemon curd. I followed the recipe I posted in February, but replaced the lime juice with lemon juice.
I roughly matched up the shells so I had even sized tops and bottoms. I was super pleased with the results, but they weren’t perfect and I was left with a little point on each one from the piping. I took my worries to the Twitterverse and sure enough, when the reply came, I should have mixed the batter even further, meaing when piped the pointy bit would disappear as the the mixture is slightly more fluid. Oh well. The results were good enough to bring me joy and encouragement for more macaron adventures. But here is my first confession, in order to photograph these little beauties I did have to slice off the pointy bit of half of the macarons so all of the bottoms had holes.
More practice for my piping skills. once I’d shaved the bottoms of half of the shells I piped some lemon curd into the centre of each one. The instructions were not to pipe right to the edge so that when you press the shells together the filling doesn’t gush out of the sides but I may have erred on the side of caution and under filled.
Now for the magic. As instructed I resisted trying one immediately, carefully placing the finished macarons in an airtight container in the fridge. According to the author of Mad About Macarons they need to be rested so that the flavour of the filling can infuse into the shell and the correct texture can be achieved.