Screw lemonade. I don't know a single person who would turn down a lemon macaron for a glass of lemonade.
I don't know what to say about these, except that they're de-freaking-licious! And simple to boot. The original recipe is, too, but that's not really what you want if you're a beginner macaroner. You really want some detailed guidance through the macronage process. Someone to hold your hand through whole ordeal.
Oh hey, that's me!
Before I get into the nitty gritty of how to get your hands on a box of macarons without spending $60, let me explain the differences between macaron methods. Like buttercream icing, there are quite a few methods to making the latest fad dessert.
French Method This is the only method that I have ever used. It's not overly sweet (well, any more than macarons usually are), and in my opinion, the laziest. It also has the added bonus of being lighter, more delicate, and imparting better flavour.
Swiss Method Similar to the French method, the Swiss method differs because the meringue is whipped over the stove in a double boiler. This is one of the rarer methods, and I don't see why anyone would bother standing over the stove, sweating, rather than just whip up a stiff meringue as per the French method. If you aren't confident at whipping up a meringue, this may be the method for you.
Italian Method Supposedly the method preferred by Pierre Hermé, this method involves boiling a sugar syrup, and whipping it slowly into the egg whites. This has a tendency to come out overly sweet, although it supposedly more stable than other methods.You also have to be careful that you don't pour the syrup in too quickly and cook the eggs. Therefore, these recipes are best tackled if you have three hands.
As you can tell, I am heavily biased towards the French method out traditionalism, and more importantly, laziness.
So I've told you why this is a simple recipe, but not why. Why is it simpler than other recipes? What makes it so much better for a beginner?
First of all, it doesn't use any colouring. The original recipe did, but due to the fact that white looks much cuter when paired with yellow, and the fact that I don't have any colouring, I decided to eschew this factor. Colourings can really mess with baking times, and if you're not confident in baking macarons, it's best to learn to make them without colourings. Also, if the shells are white, it's easier for you to tell if the shells are browning (which actually might be a bad point. Sorry).
The French method the no-fuss method of the three, so it's obviously the method of choice for beginners. While the Italian method is more stable, boiling a syrup can be daunting if you haven't done it before, and it is much easier to learn better meringue and macronage technique through the French method. A batch or two of (still delicious) cracked macarons shouldn't dishearten you on your way to becoming a macaron master!
As this recipe is (somewhat) based upon Ladurée's, I'm inclined to think that it's a good one. If they've been making macarons for 150 years, then they should be doing something right!
- Lemon essence - I added some to the macaron shells, but if you're a beginner, it may be better to skip this ingredient because it'll affect baking times.
- I found that despite being 3/4 down the oven, they still browned a little on the top, so I would place them on the bottom rack next time.
- Make the lemon curd ahead of hand. Really.
FOR THE FILLING
(make 1 day before making macarons)
- 60g egg yolks
- 60g granulated sugar
- 60g lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar.
- Heat lemon juice over the stove in a small pan until simmering. Slowly pour into egg yolks while stirring quickly to temper eggs.
- Transfer back to saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the curd reaches a pudding-like consistency.
- Strain into a bowl. Stir in zest, salt and press glad wrap into surface of curd. Refrigerate/cool.
Adapted from Ladurée: Sucré the Recipes
- 90g almond flour
- 80g icing sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 70g granulated
- a few drops of lemon essence
- Grind together almond flour and icing sugar in a food processor. Sift to remove lumps.
- Put egg whites and granulated sugar in a clean, dry bowl. Whip on low speed with an electric beater until frothy. Increase speed to high, and whip to very stiff peaks. Add in lemon essence.
- Add almond + icing sugar mixture to meringue. Fold together with a flexible rubber spatula, approximately 40 strokes, or until batter is lava-like.
- Preheat oven to 300F/ 150C. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a plain tip, and pipe 3-4cm rounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Rap sheet hard on the kitchen counter, rotate pan 90 degrees and repeat. Allow macarons to sit 10 min to develop a shell. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until a slight crust is formed.
- Remove macarons from oven and allow to cool completely before removing. Gently peel them off the baking sheet.
COMPOSING THE MACARONS
- Using the base as a size indicator, match up pairs of macaron shells that are the same size.
- Transfer lemon curd to a piping bag with a plain tip. Pipe a small coin of lemon curd onto half of the shells, and top with remaining macaron shells.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Mature for 12 hours.