Why would the end of May prompt me to make macarons? Well, they are delicate little cookies and for me May is a "delicate" month. On the first of May, I get a card from my parents with dried, fragile Lily of the Valley tucked inside. Then there is my birthday, for which I receive some precious orchid (background in the picture above) or other exotic flower....delicate.
Then there is a few more girlfriends' birthdays and of course mother's day...the month ends up being very feminine, very pink and a major reason to make macarons!
I have been experimenting with a couple of recipes, one is promising but I want to tweak it a little bit more before posting, the results are almost as good as my cherished recipe originally found on Mercotte's blog.
I made a batch of these in an attempt to teach my friend C. and when she divided the loot in half I told her to keep them all and that I did not like macarons that much. Her jaws dropped, her eyes rolled in their socket and she almost checked my temperature. Yes, I am weird: I will gladly put me through the joyous torture of Italian meringue and macaron making but I don't like eating them. I love the whole process, from deciding on the flavors, colors, folding, piping, filling but I am not a big fan. I find the process more rewarding than the results but friends and family think otherwise.
What could be more fitting the celebrate the end of May than a lemon flavored macaron filled with freshly whisked lemon curd? June will bring bolder flavors and colors but for now let's stick to a tried and true recipe for the shells, as well as this lemon curd that I use now all the time.
For the shells:
120 gr. egg whites, divided
35 gr. sugar
150 gr. finely ground almonds
150 gr. powdered sugar
2 tsp. pure lemon extract
For the boiling syrup:
150 gr. sugar and 50 gr. water
Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar.
In a stand mixer, whip 60 gr. egg whites to soft peaks, add 35 gr. sugar.In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer.
Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium - high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes).
Mix the remaining 60 gr. of egg whites, the lemon extract and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes if desired. This is often done to assure those little feet at the bottom but I found that I can skip this step with this recipe and still end up with the same result.
Bake at 320 for 15 minutes. Let cool.
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup strained lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Combine the zest, sugar, juice in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until light.
Beat some of the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.
Strain and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Fill the macarons with about 1 Tb of the curd and refrigerate.
Bye bye May...Looking forward to June!
Note: Check out the WTSIM May edition on Jeanne's blog...Yum!