Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lemon Macarons

Are you ready for some more of my imperfect macarons?
These were even less pretty than the previous batch. I'd under-mixed the batter slightly. Probably folded it 33 times instead of 34... Ugh, fussy things.
So, most of the macaron shells had little nipples (sorry, this post has a PG16 rating!).
The perfectionist in me wanted to toss them and start again, but I didn't have time. And in the end, filled with home-made lemon curd and sprinkled with poppy seeds, they were still pretty - pretty tasty : )

Lemon Macarons 

3 egg whites (100g-110g), at room temp. Aged for 2-3 days.
2 Tbs caster sugar
200g icing sugar
125g ground almonds/ almond meal
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
A few drops of lemon extract
Yellow gel/ powder food colour
Poppy seeds for sprinkling

Prepare baking trays with parchment. Make sure that the parchment is flat and that the trays aren't warped.

Put the almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until well mixed and finely ground.  
Sift into a bowl. Discard the large granules which don't pass through the sieve.

Whisk the egg whites at low speed with an electric beater until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and caster sugar.
Beat until soft peaks form, then add the lemon extract and gel colour.
Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. 

Sift the almond meal / icing sugar mix into the meringue in two batches  - folding in between. (Fold about 10 times after each addition.)
Once again discard any large granules of almond meal.

Use a spatula  to gently fold the batter until it is loosened and falls in "ribbons" from the spatula (about another 10 folds). 

Transfer to an icing bag with the tip cut off or one fitted with a large plain round icing nozzle (not more than 1cm diameter).

Pipe small dots of batter beneath the corners of the baking parchment , to keep it in place on the baking tray.

Pipe your macaron rounds - about 3-4cm diameter, about 2cm apart. Pull your piping tip to the side - this leaves a tiny tail, which should settle. 
Rap the tray twice on the counter to release any hidden air bubbles. 
Sprinkle poppy seeds over the rounds.

Turn on the oven preheat to 150'C

Leave the macarons to stand for 15-30minutes until they form a "skin" - ie. when touched with a clean, dry finger they aren't sticky.

Bake at 150'C for 15-20 minutes.
Check that they're not browning as the end of the baking time approaches.
Remove from the oven.

Leave to cool for 5 - 10minutes, then remove from the trays. If they are undercooked, they will stick to the parchment. You can pop them back into the warm oven for a few more minutes just to dry out a little more.
(Macarons are best after being filled and left for 24hrs - the filling rehydrates them a bit.) 

Lemon Curd

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
75 ml lemon juice
115g butter, cut into cubes (about 16) 

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
Add the lemon juice and zest. Mix well. 
Place the bowl on top of the pot of gently simmering water. 
Whisk until mixture starts to thicken.  It should "coat the back of a spoon". 
Pour the mixture through a sieve into another bowl  to remove the zest. 
Add the butter a cube at a time, allowing it to melt before adding the next. Mix well. 
Store with a layer of cling-wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate. 

When the lemon curd has set, pipe it between pairs of macaroon shells. 

Refrigerate the filled macarons, but allow to come to room temperature before serving. 

So, when life gives you lemons...



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