Macarons are the new cupcakes, popping up everywhere these days. Those pastry cases filled with umpteen colors of macarons look like jewels and makes me want to try all of them. With boundless flavor combinations from classic vanilla, pistachio, rose to newer modern flavors like matcha, basil and thyme. They are such a delight to eat and give them as gift or favors.
Macarons can sometimes be overly sweet with no flavor whatsoever. Sweet and tart lemon curd infused with ginger pairs beautifully with the chewy and sweet macaron shells. This particular combination is satori, a sudden enlightenment with ginger just hitting the right note of spiciness. It is very subtle while citrusy lemon curd center adds an extra zing to macarons.
I have been making macarons for some time now. Macarons can be made using two methods: French and Italian. I have had success using both of them but prefer Italian method as it gives more stable meringue and there is less chance of over mixing the mixture. I sift my almond meal three times, yes you read that right three times. I know it is a lot of work but those cookies need to look as good as they taste. I make my own meal from regular Almonds. You can splurge and use Valencia almonds as they yield less greasy meal making macarons fuller and smoother. You can skip making this filling and use a store-bought lemon curd. Only weight measures are given here because macarons needs perfection and volume measures just doesn’t work every time. My macarons still needs work with piping. These are finicky little cookies so if you do not get them right the first time keep on trying.
Recipe from Bouchon Bakery
Lemon Ginger Curd
4-8 inch piece of grated ginger root (optional)
Zest from 4 lemons
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolk
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter, cubed, cold
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
38 grams granulated sugar
38 grams granulated sugar
63 grams egg yolks
75 grams whole milk
250 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature
212 grams almond meal
212 grams confectioners’ sugar
82 and 90 grams egg whites, divided
236 grams granulated sugar, plus a pinch
158 grams water
Few drops yellow color
Lemon Ginger Curd
1. Press the grated ginger in a strainer to get juice. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice depending on how strong you want ginger to be. Whisk eggs, yolks, zest and sugar together and keep aside.
2. Heat lemon juice and ginger juice till just below simmer.Pour the juice in a steady stream with one hand while continuously whisking the egg mixture. Return everything back to pot. Cook over medium heat till it thickens and registers 160°F.
3. Remove from heat and stir butter, cream, vanilla and salt. Strain the curd and press a plastic wrap over it. Refrigerate until ready to use. This makes about 2 cup. Leftovers should be used within 5 days.
1. Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.Heat milk and remaining 38 grams of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring it to a simmer and remove from heat. Whisking continuously add the milk to egg mixture and return the mixture to the pan.
2. Whisk constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute. Be careful and prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk for about 8 minutes on medium speed. until the mixture is completely cool.
3. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter.
4. The buttercream can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in freezer for a month. Defrost overnight in fridge.
5. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low-speed using paddle attachment, until it is the proper consistency.
1. These cookies are sandwiched together, so making them of equal size is important. I would recommend tracing circles using a small cookie cutter about 1 ¼ inch circle.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Carefully process almond flour in food processor to get fine meal. Sift it with powdered sugar three times. Put 82 grams of egg white and mix well using spatula. It will be stiff, set aside.
3. Put 90 grams of egg white and pinch salt in very clean grease free bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment. Over medium heat make syrup using 236 grams of granulated sugar and water. Once the syrup reaches 203°F start whisking the egg whites till it reaches soft peak on medium speed. Than lower the speed and keep whites moving.
4. Once the syrup reaches 248°F, remove from heat. Slowly pour the mixture over egg white, whisking at medium speed. While pouring aim for space right between bowl and whisk. Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, till it forms stiff glossy peaks.
5. Fold one-third meringue into the almond mixture using rubber spatula. Continue adding little at a time. Once you finish mixing all keep folding the mixture till you see ribbons forming when you lift your spatula. Avoid over mixing this batter, otherwise macarons won’t hold its shape.
6. Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag with the ½-inch tip. Pipe out enough mixture to fill in the circle. Bake one tray at a time for 9 to 12 minutes. As soon as you place the tray in oven, reduce temperature to 325°F. Repeat till you finish all the batter and preheat to 350°F again. Let cool completely.
Fill the macarons
1. Put buttercream to the pastry bag with ⅜ inch tip.
2. Turn half of them over and pipe a ring not touching the edges. Put little lemon curd in center. Cover with another macaron shell and press gently. Repeat this with other macaron shells.
3. Freeze the prepared macarons in freezer for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. To eat defrost in refrigerator for 3 hours and bring to room temperature.