Originally I had my heart set on making a lemon tart. When I started gathering my ingredients, I was dismayed to find a few essential ingredients missing from my cupboard. What’s a girl to do in this situation? “If life gives you lemons, make macarons out of them!” I succumbed once again to the macaron madness and went to town. This batch turned out so perfect and consistent with the last couple batches, I think I’ve finally nailed these suckers and I can justify a moderate ego boost. Thus I present to you, these lemon macarons.
If you’re new to the world of macarons I recommend reading my tips from this prior post before proceeding with your shells.
Meyer Lemon Macarons
Posted by Lia S on January 24th, 2012
Yield: About 20 macarons
Meyer lemon curd
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Juice and zest of one meyer lemon
- 3 egg yolks
Swiss meringue buttercream
- 5 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 c granulated white sugar
- 2 c (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into 1 tbsp pieces
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional if adding liquor)
Basic macaron shells
- 110g Blanched Slivered Almonds or Almond Meal/Flour
200g Confectioner’s Sugar
100g Aged Egg Whites (3 egg whites), room temperature
Optional: Gel Food Coloring, 2-3 drops
Meyer lemon curd
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt, whisk to combine.
- Add in one yolk at a time until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick like a heavy sauce.
- Pour into a bowl and place cling film over the top resting on the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate over night to 1 week.
Swiss meringue buttercream
- In a heat-proof bowl add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until all the whites are broken up. Add in the sugar and place over a pot of simmering water.
- Whisk the mixture consistently while heating. The mixture will become thick and frothy and take on a creamy color. At this stage if it appears that the sugar has dissolved, touch the egg mixture and rub between your fingers. If it feels smooth it is done. If you feel even a slight gritty texture keep whisking and every 30 seconds feel the mixture until smooth when rubbed between your fingers. FYI: Sugar melts at 186°F and in accordance to the USDA and FDA guidelines eggs should be cooked to 145-155°F to be safe. You do not need a candy thermometer to make this frosting which some sites suggest. Just due to the melting point of sugar your eggs are heated to a high enough temperature to be safe. Just make sure that when you rub it between your fingers it should feel smooth with no grittiness left at all from the sugar.
- Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue adding the butter once each addition has been incorporated. After the last piece of butter has been added around 30 seconds later the mixture will look separated or curdled. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth, it will come back together after a total of 3-5 minutes.
Basic macaron shells
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If you only have two cookie sheets, place one on a wire rack to create a flat surface. This is so you can double up the cookie sheets for baking the shells. If using parchment paper a great trick for if you’re new to macarons is to draw out circles using the base of the piping tip to create a guide for me while piping. With a pencil and the Adeco #804 tip create circles in a 5×8 pattern on one side of each sheet of parchment. When you have made your circle guide on one side, flip it over so you don’t accidentally pipe the mixture onto the pencil drawings.
- Grind the almonds and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. Grind for 2-3 minutes until fine and like sand in texture. Sift 2-3 times to lighten the dry mixture. Reprocess as needed to get out all of the big pieces of almonds ground down, and lumps out of the sugar. You are looking for the consistency of sand.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer (I found a hand mixer more successful). Whisk the egg whites until a foam tarts to foam, it should have a slight tinge of the color of the egg whites in the folds of the ribbons. Slowly add in the sugar while mixing and whisk until a medium stiff peak forms. Optional Note: After the sugar has been incorporated and the egg whites are at a soft peak add the food coloring if using. As soon as you can hold the bowl upside down over your head with out it falling out, the eggs are done.
- Sift half of the dry mixture onto the egg whites, and mix in to lighten. Sift in the remaining dry mixture, and begin to gently fold in. Once mostly combined, tip the bowl at a 45° angle. Spread the mixture out on 1/3 of the side surface of the bowl, sweep under and fold it over on it self. Repeat this process 10-12 times. When you reach the 10th time, stop and lift up a spatula full of the mixture if it forms thick ribbons, watch the mixture and count to 10. It should absorb into the rest of the mixture with only slight indication of edges, your mixture it done. It should just very slowly settle on itself.
- Pour mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. I used Adeco #804. Pipe out following your guide pattern (make sure the side with the pencil led is facing down onto your prepared cookie sheet. Gently tap the bottom of your sheet twice to remove air bubbles, and let it set out to dry to form a shell. What you’re looking for is it to not feel tacky. This can be 15 minutes to an hour.
- Bake at 300°F for 18 minutes. Once finished baking, if you are using parchment let the shells cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the tray to refrigerator to cool the rest of the way. When the shells are completely cooled they will come off of the parchment quiet easily. If you are using a silpat you can let sit out to cool until you can easily remove them from the silpat.
- Once the shells turn over easily without sticking to the mat or paper, transfer them to a wire rack and slide the next parchment or silpat with shells onto the top sheet of your doubled-up baking sheets. Follow the same baking temperature and time, repeating the cooling process as well to remove the shells from the parchment.
Pair up the shells of the same size and flip bottom up to let cool completely before adding in filling. With the buttercream make a ring around the outer edge of the flat bottomed half. Fill the center space with the lemon curd. Place the matched top on and gently press down.
As always, these keep incredibly well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or so. Let come up to room temperature for maximum enjoyment.