After a couple of recent baking disasters, I needed to find my kitchen mojo. Something to celebrate the arrival of spring (finally!), something that wasn’t entirely new and untested, and something that my youngest, who will from now on be referred to as 3G (you don’t wanna know), would actually like. I find nothing more disheartening that spending the day putting together an amazing meal only to be told, “I don’t like it.” He’s not bad at food, really – I’ve just been off the mark recently as far as his tastes go. That happens.
But these macarons? Success. In every way. We are happy once again 🙂
140g ground almonds
140g confectioner’s (icing/powdered) sugar
100g egg white (from approx. 3 eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g granulated (white) sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
a few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
1 tbsp corn starch
80g granulated (white) sugar
100g butter, diced, room temperature
Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets.
Mix the ground almonds and confectioner’s sugar together then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the lemon zest and 50g egg whites and mix thoroughly into the almond mixture. Set aside.
Beat 50g egg whites to stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat to 118°C.
While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm (you should get a beak when you lift the whisk) and shiny. Add the food colouring, if using, while mixing.
Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogenous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon and a trail in the batter melts back into itself within 20 seconds.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm plain tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 3cm, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.
Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C.
Bake the macarons for 18 minutes, one sheet at a time, turning the tray half-way. Check them by nudging one very gently – if it moves on its foot, they will need another minute or two.
Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully to a plate for filling. If they stick, you can spray the underside of the parchment with water, let sit for a minute then remove to a rack to dry completely.
Wash and dry the lemon and lime, grate the zests into a small bowl and juice them, straining the juice well.
Mix the zest, juice and corn starch in a small saucepan then add the sugar. Heat over a low flame.
Beat the eggs then add to the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium-low and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat, transfer the mixture to a bowl and beat in the butter.
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pipe or spoon a generous blob of filling onto the flat side of half the shells, top with the remaining shells and press gently until the filling reaches the edges.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.