This month’s Mac Attack challenge #11 was to bake a macaron inspired by a childhood summer memory.
I had a really happy childhood and stacks of fond memories, but I found they were either difficult to create (due to my inability to source mulberries at the moment), or already posted by other members and I was scratching my head when this came to mind.
My mother's jewelry box, filled with treasures I used to sneak in to look at and occasionally dare to try them on. Sometimes I would be allowed to legitimately try them on whilst sitting next to my mother on her bed, I used to feel so special.
Now I actually know that mum kept her real treasures elsewhere and the stuff in that box was costume jewelry, but I still remember that box and it's shiny baubles with a smile on my face.
My box here is filled with a different kind of treasure.
and while I was taking these photo's and piling the macarons in a tower I remembered that I also used to love playing with building blocks and lego so I made a couple of little towers
Oooops - after you get to three its a bit unstable.
My macarons were Lemon Buttercream and raspberry white chocolate.
One of the best parts of these Lemon Buttercream filled Macarons is that they used up 3 egg yolks - wahoo my house is always filled with egg yolk leftovers and any chance I get to use them makes me soooo happy.
Lemon Buttercream filling for macarons adapted from the book Macaron by Alison Thompson
(makes enough to fill approx 30 macarons)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (I used 3//4 because my lemon was super juicy)
140g (5oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
165g (6oz) softened unsalted butter chopped in small squares
3 egg yolk
2 tbsp (1 1/2 fl oz) water (US - 1 1/2 Tbsp water)
1. Combine lemon juice, zest, 50g (1 3/4oz) sugar and 40g (1 1/2 oz) butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then remove from heat and add the 1 whole egg (not the yolks yet still need them).
2. Mix well and return to heat stirring continuously until the mixture thickens.Transfer to a bowl and press cling wrap over the surface to prevent skin from forming and pop into the fridge.
3. Put the 3 egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat the egg yolks on high speed for 10 mins until they have increased in volume and are pale and creamy.
4. Place water and remaining 90g (3oz) sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil, simmer until the syrup reaches 121 C (250 F).
5. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the creamed yolks. Beat on high speed for 10 mins until cool.
6. Turn the speed down to medium and add the remaining butter slowly, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next lot.
7. Beat at high speed for 2 mins, add the cooled lemon mixture and then beat for another 2 mins.
Makes enough for at least 30 macarons.
French Macarons based on Pierre Herme's recipe
150g (5 1/4 ounce) ground almonds
150g (5 1/4 ounce) Icing (powdered) Sugar
110g Egg Whites, (3 7/8ounce) aged at least 3 days, separated into 2 lots of 55g (1 7/8 ounce)
150g (5 1/4 ounce) Granulated Sugar
37g ( 1 1/4 ounce) Water
yellow food colour
1. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and pulse a few times in food processor to make almond meal finer. Do not over process as the meal can become oily. Sieve into a large bowl. Add colour and 55g (1 7/8ounce) of the egg whites to the sugar/almond mixture but don’t mix in.
2. Place remaining 55g (1 7/8 ounce) of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk.
3. Pop granulated sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118C. Once the mixture reaches 115C start mixing the egg whites on high. Once the sugar syrup reaches 118C remove from heat and immediately pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high.
4. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch, around 50C.
5. Add meringue mixture to almond mixture and using a large spatula fold the mixture together until it starts to shine and forms a ribbon that stays visible for about 30 seconds.
6. Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe in lines onto parchment lined baking sheets. To make the macarons as even as possible I apply a constant slow pressure to the piping bag and count a few numbers like up to 3 for each one.
7. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macarons have formed a skin that doesn't stick to your finger.
8. Meanwhile preheat oven to 140C (285 F). Once ready bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes depending on size, they should not be browned. Remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the parchment onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells.
Happy baking and check out the rest of the Mac Attack crews childhood interpretations, they should all be posted by the end of the month.