OK, OK I’m sorry! I just love lemon far too much. I promise next week #macaronmondays is something other than citrus fruit flavoured! You might know by now that one of my favourite things to do is take something I love, something that is known in it’s current state – such as Lemon Meringue or Pecan Pie and using those flavours, textures or memories to create something new. This week, admittedly after a few practice attempts, I came up with Lemonade Macarons.
I didn’t want to just create a fresh citrus macaron. I wanted to capture the feeling of that first thirst-quenching sip and that buzzing that follows, disappearing on your tongue.
I first had a practice with sherbet and while I recommend [because it tastes so so good] it wasn’t quite sparking that memory for me. It took a while to hunt down, but I finally found some popping candy in a little independent old-fashioned sweet show in my town centre. Using it in the macarons works like a dream. You get the citrus, you get the fizz. All without a lemonade stand in sight!
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
72g egg white
100g granulated sugar
Cream food colouring
50g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp milk
Yellow food colouring
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C or 160°C fan.
Sieve the almonds and icing sugar in a bowl several times. Three at a minimum. If you don’t have a sieve, use a food processor but either is fine.
Pour half of the egg whites into the almond and icing sugar mixture and mix together with a spoon. It should all come together to create a paste. Pour the rest of the egg whites into a stand mixer or clean bowl.
Put the sugar and water onto a medium-high heat in a high-sided saucepan. Combine carefully so all the sugar is coated in the water then leave very much alone. It’s worth having a pastry brush and a bowl of water to hand incase sugar crystals form up the side of the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil. Using a sugar thermometer, bringing the syrup up to 110°C. At this point, start mixing the egg whites in your stand mixer or with an electric hand held whisk. Once the temperature has reached 118°C and the eggs are frothy, carefully and slowly pour it into the egg whites to stop the heat from cooking the eggs.
Whisk for about 5-6 minutes of high speed. Halfway, add the cream food colouring. Remember that the colour fades in the oven.
After 6 minutes, the meringue mixture should be approaching stiff peak stage. So long as it holds up on the whisk, it’s done. Take about a quarter and add to the almond and sugar mixture – beat this together to loosen the mixture. Add another quarter and carefully fold together – you don’t want to remove the air you’ve just put into the meringue so slowly and carefully does it. Once combined, add another quarter and repeat the process. You may not use all of the meringue so test every now and then – take a bit of the mixture on the spatula and if it falls away in a ribbon-like consistency and disappears into the rest of the batter in about 10 seconds you’re there. It should fall from the spatula within 2 seconds.
Decant the mixture into a piping bag, fit with a plain round nozzle of about 1/2″. Blob a little of the mixture onto a baking sheet and place the baking paper on top, using the mixture as a glue to stick it down. Baking paper is needed – baking parchment will not suffice!
Pipe the circles onto the baking paper. Sometimes, there may be a ‘nipple’ to your meringue, but worry not, this should disappear with the next movement. That being taking the baking sheet and knocking it on the counter top several times. Just raise it above the counter a few inches and drop. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. And twice more.
Leave the macarons uncovered for 15 minutes and then place in the oven for 12 minutes on a low shelf. Any higher the macarons tend to brown and discolour. Once cooked, leave to cool completely before even attempting to remove from the baking paper.
While they are cooling, make the filling. Beat the butter for 3 minutes before adding half of the icing sugar. Beat again and repeat with the remaining half. Beat for a further three minutes, adding in the yellow food colour and lemon extract halfway. Taste and alter to your taste.
Pair up the macaron shells and on one half, pipe small stars of buttercream around the edge. In the middle, carefully add the popping candy and sandwich together. The result is a lemony treat with a fizz following after.