Meyer lemon macarons
French macarons are one of my all time favorite things in life. Delicate and delicious, rich but light as a cloud, they make any occasion feel a little more fancy and bright. And, they are usually gluten free! I have never even considered making them at home because the task seems too daunting. Too many opportunities to turn a thing of beauty into an incredible disaster.
This weekend I decided to find out if my preconceived notions were, in fact, true.
As it turns out, there is nothing to fear but not having an abundance of macarons in your life! Sure it’s not exactly as easy as whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies but it’s not rocket science either. And the reward is more than worth the effort.
This recipe comes from Food52 with slight modifications from me. Aside from being heaven on my tastebuds, I found the process of making them to be fun and very doable. It does take a couple of days because the curd needs to sit overnight and you also need to age your egg whites for about 24 hours. That said, there is not much hands on time, so don’t let the 2 days intimidate you.
Meyer Lemon Macarons Serves 20ish
Ingredients: For the curd: 2 extra-large eggs 2 extra-large egg yolks (reserve the whites for later) ⅓ c granulated sugar ⅓ c Meyer lemon juice 1 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest ¼ tsp kosher salt 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt in a medium metal or pyrex bowl to blend well. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch any water). Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and an instant thermometer in the mixture reads at least 170. Food52 says this takes 5-6 minutes but I found that to not be long enough. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove the bowl from over the water. Whisk butter into curd, 2 cubes at a time, allowing butter to melt before adding more. Whisk until the curd is smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and refrigerate overnight. *my curd didn’t thicken like I wanted it to because I needed to cook it longer. More like 15 minutes instead of 5-6. Don’t be discouraged if that happens. I just put it back over the simmering water the next morning and whisked away until it thickened. It took about 15 minutes to get there. I let it sit in the fridge at least 6 hours before using it in the macarons. It was perfect. *I also found that I had quite a bit of leftover curd. You’re welcome.
For macarons: 68 grams eggs whites (I used the two reserved whites from the curd), aged at room temperature for 24 hours. (I kept mine in a sealed tupperware on top of the fridge) 34 grams granulated sugar (I used a pinch over 4 tsps) 75 grams blanched almonds (make life easier and buy the almonds blanched. I used a pinch over ¾ of cup) 136 grams confectioner’s sugar (I used a heaping cup) * if possible, it’s better to weigh ingredients but I don’t have a scale so those were my conversions. They worked out great.
Combine the almonds and confectioners sugar in a food processor. Process until you cannot distinguish the almonds from the sugar (about 45 seconds to a minute). It’s very important there are no large pieces of almond left. Set aside. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or mixing bowl (I used an electric beater). Whisk on low-medium speed until frothy. Add the granulated sugar a little bit at a time. Allow the sugar to fully incorporate before adding the next bit. When all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and allow meringue to form stiff peaks. To test, turn the bowl upside down. There should be no movement in the meringue. Add half of the almond-sugar mix to the meringue. Using a wooden spatula, begin combining the two. During this first combination, you want to combine vigorously to reduce the air in the meringue somewhat or your macarons will be too puffy. Continue about 10-15 turns. Add half of the remaining almond-sugar mix another 15-20 turns. Then fold the rest of the almond-sugar mix into the meringue. Continue for no more than 10 turns, or until you can no longer distinguish between the two. Fill a pastry bag with a #806 tip. (I used a large ziplock back with the corner cut off!) Pipe about 1” rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave room between macarons, they will expand. Allow the macarons to sit 30 minutes-1 hour to develop a shell. Preheat oven to 300. Bake macarons for 8-10 minutes. Food52 says until the shells are slightly golden. I want to emphasize the word slightly. Slightly golden can turn to slightly brown very fast at which point your macarons are overdone. I would say at the first sight of SLIGHTLY golden, get them out of there. When the shells are completely cool, find pairs for each macaron that are more or less the same size and shape. Pipe or spread Meyer lemon curd on the flat side of one macaron and sandwich with another. Behold! You’ve made a perfect macaron! Enjoy!