Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Lemon Macarons

Since I was a kid, I always love sour or tart fruits or vegetables. I love the feeling I have each time this particular taste hit my senses. I consider myself to have an extreme liking on tartness/sourness, compared with the rest of people in this country. So many different fruits and vegetables always available all year long apparently make people quite picky on how the fruits taste. People say sour fruits are not the good fruits. Fruits should be sweet, not sour. Let’s take orange as an example. My mom does not eat orange if it has even a hint of sour taste. And many are like her. So many locally endemic fruits are forgotten and become rare and some are almost distinguished, simply because they are sour. Which is a pity.

I always feel soooo happy whenever I find these rare fruits in a market. Kecapi, dhuwet, gandaria, green mango, kepundung or buah-menteng, kelubi, kedondong, langsat... those are only a few of maybe hundreds of variety local fruits that now are difficult to find in the markets. Nobody wants them... but I long for them.

The worldwide well-known sour/tart fruits also not that common, except strawberry. For kiwi-fruits, people look for the sweet yellow variety instead of the sour green one. Sour plum and apricot is not bought as much as peaches and nectarines. In fruit stores, you can find more than thirty kind of sweet fruits and only less than five sour fruits.

Lemon is one of my favorite. Not only to have it in my desserts but also to flavor the dishes I cook with it... to marinate chicken, duck, fish, seafood, beef..., or simply squeeze them on my meals.

For long since I know how to bake macarons, I wanted to make lemon macarons. I have never tasted Ladurée or Pierre Hérmé’s Lemon Macarons, so mine might be slightly different. I flavor the shells with grated lemon zest, and filled them with thickened lemon curd.

Considering my liking on sour/tart taste, I think I am a bit late to know about lemon curd. This was the first time I cooked lemon curd. I chose Tartelette's recipe for
lemon curd, knowing that she loves sour taste also. And Tartelette's Lemon Curd is amazingly delicious... a taste of heaven for me. I filled some of my lemon macarons shells with it, but I thought it needed to be thicken a little bit so it doesn't squeeze out when we bite on it.

Lemon Macarons
(Make 25-30 macarons)

For the shells :

185 grams powdered sugar
115 grams almond ground
2 tbsp of grated lemon zest
100 grams egg whites
50 grams caster sugar
Yellow food coloring

In a food processor, mix the almond ground, powdered sugar and lemon zest until well-blended. Put aside. Sieve if you want a smooth surface on your macarons shells.

In a clean bowl on a stand mixer, whip the egg whites, and gradually add the caster sugar in. Continue whipping until stiff-peak consistency. Be careful not to over-whip the egg whites.

Incorporate the almond mixture and food coloring into the whipped egg whites, in three additions. Incorporate until a magma-like consistency. Please be careful not to over-mix.

Fill the mixture into a big pipping bag, and pipe small rounds (about 3-4 cm) on baking trays that have been lined with silpat or parchment paper.

Tap the tray several times on a hard surface to remove the bubbles, and let it stand for 30 minutes to dry the macarons shells' surfaces a little bit.

Preheat your oven to 140-150 Celsius degree.

Double the baking tray and bake your macarons shells in the oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool before removing them from the silpat/parchment paper. Pair the same size shells and fill them with the Thickened Lemon Curd.

Put the filled macarons in an air-tight container and keep in your fridge for another 24 hours before eat/serve them.

For the filling :

Thickened Lemon Curd
(modified from Tartelette's recipe)

Zest from 2 lemons
1/2 cup of Lemon Juice (from fresh lemons)
1/4 cup of sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp of cornstarch
100 grams of non-salted butter, softened

In a saucepan, put in simmer the lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.

While waiting the lemon liquid to simmer, beat the egg and egg yolk together until smooth and well-mixed.

To temper the egg, pour half of the simmering lemon juice into the egg in a slow stream and continue beating. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and mix with the rest of lemon juice. Keep it in simmer.

Dilute the cornstarch with enough water to make it liquid before mix it into the simmering lemon curd in the sauce pan. Constantly stir the mixture until it's thickened. Take it off from the stove.

Let it cool slightly, and when it's warm, incorporate well the butter. Use mixer if you want a really smooth lemon curd. Keep in your fridge to completely cool before filling your macarons shells with it.

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