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A couple of weeks ago I made two attempts to make French Macarons. Although they tasted good, they weren’t very successful. Both times my Macarons cracked 🙁
I wasn’t sure if this was from under mixing, over mixing, not letting them rest enough before baking, or not sifting the ingredients enough.
Shortly after baking these and giving up for a bit, I happened to see a post on Instagram from another amateur baker who finally had success using Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe. I decided to check out her recipe and see if I would have better luck. Her recipe was basically the same as what I had done before, but she recommended mixing the batter 65-75 turns, which was much more than I had done previously. She also recommended using superfine almond flour. Finally she baked them at a slightly lower temperature than I had before.
I tried again this week to see if I would have any success with her suggestions and I did! The macarons came out with perfectly flat and smooth tops and had the characteristic “feet” (the bubbly part at the bottom) that macarons are supposed to have.
The only problem was the first batch came out much more browned than I would have wanted. Her recipe cooked the macarons for 20 minutes, but when looking at other recipes, that cooked at the same temperature, they recommended between 10-15 minutes. I reduced the cooking time for my 2nd tray and the colour was much more vibrant.
The Key to my Success
So what made the these macarons more successful? It’s hard to say exactly, but the main differences in my process were the following:
- I used superfine almond flour.
- I sifted the almond flour and icing sugar together and then sifted them again over the meringue to make sure there were no lumps or large pieces.
- I folded my batter 75 times to ensure it was well mixed.
My Flavour Interpretation
This time I wanted to do lemon macarons. I decided to keep the actual macaron plain flavoured and just colour them with yellow food colouring and make the filling a lemon flavour. I saw one picture where someone had done a ring of buttercream around the edge of the macaron and filled the middle with lemon curd. That sounded like the right way to go to me. I knew that the curd would have a nice tart lemon flavour and figured it would be blanced by the sweetness of the macaron and the buttercream. I added a bit of zest to the buttercream as well to give it a hint of lemon flavour.
My family all thought these were the best macarons yet! The sweet-tart lemon flavour was so enticing, it was hard to stop at just one!
Here is the recipe for the macarons and the filling along with some helpful tips in the instructions. For this recipe, you will need:
- Superfine Almond Flour
- Parchment Paper
- Food Colouring (I like the gel kind best)
- Piping Bag and 1/4 inch round tip
French Macarons Filled with Lemon CurdThese macarons are filled with lemon curd and a lemon-vanilla buttercream for the perfect balance for sweet and tart. Based on Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe. I recommend using superfine ground almonds for this recipe. The lemon curd needs a bit of time to set, so either prepare it in advance, or while the macarons are drying before they bake.
For the Macarons
- For the Lemon Curd
- For the Lemon-Vanilla Buttercream
For the Macarons
- Preheat oven to 300 F/150 C
- Sift together icing sugar and ground almonds. Discard any large pieces that don't go through the sieve.
- Beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar.
- With mixer on low, gradually add granulated sugar.
- Whip until they form a peak that stands upright.
- Add food colouring, if using and whip to combine.
- Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar over the egg white mixture and again discard any large pieces.
- Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. About 65-75 good strokes. When mixture is combined well enough, it should stream off the spatula in a ribbon.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch round tip.
- Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I trace circles on the underside of my paper ahead of time to use as a guide. You should have 48 total.
- Tap the pan hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles that you see on the surface. This will prevent the tops of your macarons from cracking.
- Let them sit out for 20-30 mins, or up to an hour to dry out the tops. They should be "tacky" to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is another important step to assuring your macarons develop feet! When they dry out they can't spread out in the oven, and are forced to rise up. That's what creates the feet!
- Bake the macarons for 10-15 minutes until cooked. To test if the macarons are done, try to wiggle the top of one with your finger. If the top moves around on its feet, it needs more time. If it doesn't move at all, it is done. You don't want to under bake them, but if you bake them too long they will start to brown and ruin your colour.
- When macarons are cooked, slide the macarons on the parchment paper to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling. For the Lemon Curd
- Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in a large metal bowl or the top pot of a double boiler.
- Place over a pot filled with one inch of barely simmering water. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick and similar in texture to a Hollandaise sauce, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
- Pour curd into a small bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin.
- Chill in fridge until completely cool. Curd may be refrigerated for up to 10 days. For the Lemon-Vanilla Buttercream
- Beat softened butter, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add icing sugar and lemon zest and cream andmix on low until sugar is completely moistened.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until icing is fluffy. Add more cream if necessary so that icing is a good consistency for piping. Use immediately of keep in the fridge for up to one week. For Assembly
- Match equal sized macarons together to make two halves of your cookie.
- Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the flat side one of your macarons. Spoon about a 1/2 tsp of lemon curd in the middle of the ring and spread evenly.
- Top with second macaron. Repeat with remaining macarons. Will keep in the fridge for up to one week.