Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lemon macarons

It was inevitable.... 

The lemon glut continues.  
Coupla lemon cakes a week.  Every chicken dish is lemon chicken.   Lemon juice squirted on the barbecued fish, whether the kids like it or not.  All who visit invariably comment on our lovely lemon tree, and are quickly put on the spot.
Me: "Would you like some lemons??"  (innocently, but with crazy grin) 
Hapless visitor: "Oh, er, yes ple...."
and I'm off, grabbing a bag, stuffing a dozen lemons in it.
"Here you go!" thrusting it into their only politely enthusiastic arms.  Visitor makes a mental note not to come around again until they've used up the lemons from the last time....
and now:

Lemon macarons with lemon curd filling

100g egg whites, allowed to sit covered at room temperature for 3 days
30g castor sugar
5g powdered egg white (if you can't get it, Pavlova Magic works)
125g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tblsp 
finely grated lemon rind

Sift the icing sugar, baking powder and almond meal.  It takes a long time to sift the almond meal and you have to push it through with a spoon but it should mostly 
pass through the sieve eventually.  Discard the small quantity of lumpy bits that do not pass through the sieve.  Combine castor sugar and powdered egg white (or Pavlova Magic) in a separate little bowl.
Whisk the egg whites until firm and stiff enough to keep its shape when you turn the bowl upside down, I prefer to whisk by hand.  Gradually add the castor sugar/powdered egg white mix whisking continuously and vigorously after each addition.
Add the icing sugar/baking powder/almond meal mix in five batches, stirring until mixed each time.  Lastly, stir in the lemon rind.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a baking sheet or baking paper, leaving an inch between each round, and let them sit on the bench for one hour or until they have developed a "skin" and do not feel sticky to the touch.
Bake at 120C for 6 minutes, turn the tray around, bake for another 6 minutes then remove from the oven.  Slide the baking sheet off the tray and onto the bench; partly so you can cook the next batch, but also the cold bench stops the cooking process in its tracks.  When they are completely cold, peel them carefully off the paper.

for the filling: (this recipe has appeared here before)

rind and juice of 4 lemons
6 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
125g butter

Lightly whisk the eggs and sugar together in a saucepan, then add the other ingredients.  Whisk continually over a medium heat until the mixture has thickened to a custard-like texture then allow to cool in the pan.  Decant into sterilised jars and refrigerate until set completely. 
Spread a little onto a macaron like spreading jam thickly on bread, then stick another macaron on top.

This time I weighed the egg whites... it's occurred to me that this minor detail might actually be integral to the success of the recipe!  I guess I lucked out in this respect before, since 3 egg whites of the type I usually buy turned out to be pretty close to 100g!
In all honesty I didn't enjoy these quite as much as my previous efforts; the vanilla, coconut and berry fruit flavours.  Maybe the natural sourness of citrus isn't the most crash-hot pairing with the delicate almond flavour of macarons.  Maybe we are just getting a bit lemon-ed out.
Maybe this is my swan-song in the macaron department.  Once I've sorta conquered something tricky in cooking I tend to lose interest.
Did I actually use the word "conquer" with regard to my cooking prowess?  HA!!  Oh I totally crack myself up sometimes.  Imagining generations of French pastry chefs spinning in their graves right now...  


  1. It's an amazing thing that you could tire of lemons the way some of us tire of apples or zucchini. :)

  2. I love macaroons and I love lemons. I can not cook. I am drooling. I am jealous. Have one for me.

  3. Hhhmm........ lecker!!
    I love macarons , but i think its not so easy to do.
    Have a nice day!

  4. Aaah, I am so jealous of your lemon tree - even though I totally understand that there can be a "too much lemons" :-) The macarons look delicious!

  5. I too am jealous of your lemon tree I love lemons. Your macaroons look wonderful.

  6. In a few short weeks it will be the same for me and mangoes! You can't give them away come summer. I make kilos of mango chutney, mango ice cream, mango chicken ... you know how it goes!

  7. Damn! I wish it were practical to send your lemons to London. My whole street would be delighted with your drops of Australian sunshine.

  8. Oh to have a fruit tree....I think it would have to be apple here in Britain. However, I have a friend who has two and so I already get a hefty supply of applies! Maybe you could set up a roadside stand and sell them?

  9. You have to be totally lemoned-out at this point! I hope I can make it to the health-food store this week to get some powdered egg-whites. I've got to give macarons a try!

  10. I can't ever imagine getting sick of lemons!

  11. those macarons look so tasty. and I know exactly what you mean about the lemons, and the giving to everyone who comes by. whether they want them or not;)

  12. What a neat photo! I would say yum! to your macaroons but I´ve spent four days at my parents and I´ve got sugar pouring out of my ears, I would be more appreciative when my sugar levels are back to normal. ;D

  13. So Carolyn, you whisk egg whites by hand. How long does it take you? I tried many times but more or less failed. My mother used to do it, and I know Julia Childs did, and now you, so it must be doable. Is it a special gift?

  14. alina:
    Thank you for the comment!
    It should only take a few minutes to whisk egg whites; BUT if there is even one speck of egg yolk, or water, in with the whites then they will never ever whisk up, no matter how long or how vigorously you try. Make sure your bowl and whisk are completely dry before adding the whites, and take special care when separating the yolk and the white to ensure the yolk does not get punctured.

  15. Thank you for answering, Carolyn; I shall give it a try again, taking your advice. Btw, I also follow your sewing, not just cooking!

  16. When life gives you lemons, make lemon macarons. I'll have to try this recipe after I return home. I'm kind of obliquuely responding one of your posts that appeared in in my blogroll, but doesn't appear (right now) on your blog. I want to send a long delayed note of appreciation for your sharing your detailed sewing experiences with all your patterns. It's obvious to me that you put a lot of time into your sewing and blogging. We don't share the same body type (I couldn't wear Japanese ready to wear when I was at my thinnest) but I enjoy seeing someone else adapt, sew and wear the designs. Thank you for sharing.

    PS--I like your dog, too. She (?) always looks so calm and peaceful in the pictures.

  17. Catching up on my blog reading and oh, my! Lemony anything is fantastic, and I desperately wish I could reach through my screen and grab a couple of those macaroons for my lemon love!