You may have seen it on Instagram, I was invited to Lyon at the Chocolaterie Sève to learn how to make macaroons. Richard Sève (and his wife Gaëlle, it’s a team!) are among the few chocolatiers in France to produce their own chocolate (what we call a bean-to-bar chocolatier). I learned a lot of stuff about macaroons that I’m going to share with you. But before, I had already made lemon macaroons by picking from Christelle’s pastry recipes (I know they always work very well!). I therefore present to you today the lemon macaroons according to “Once upon a time the Pastry”. And I will give you the recipe and tips from Richard Sève in another article.
So a little detail to start with, before I hated making macaroons! To be honest, it’s the only recipe that I’ve failed more often than succeeded in my life ^^. I find it super long and as I usually ended up missing my shells, the time investment seemed insurmountable! But I’m starting to master it, I think I’ll do it more often in the future.
French meringue or Italian meringue?
You may have missed it, but Christelle had amazed Cyril Lignac with her apple macaroons during her visit to the Cake Kings. So I knew I was in good hands with this recipe. But to make macaroons, there are a billion ways to do it and everyone will tell you that it’s much better to do it this way for such and such a reason.
Christelle uses Italian meringue because, according to her, it gives shells that are crispier on top, but just as soft on the inside. This method is reputed to be a little more stable (and therefore more reliable for the neophyte). But it requires more equipment since it requires a thermometer and a robot (or a friend to hold the whisk when pouring the drizzle of sugar into the tank).
The principle of macaroons
Some info before getting to the heart of the matter of these lemon macaroons. THE macaron as we know it today is a so-called “Paris” macaron. It consists of 2 shells glued together with ganache or butter cream (popularized in particular by Maison Ladurée).
The shells are made of a “tant pour tant” (that is to say a mixture of equal parts ground almonds and icing sugar) to which meringue is added. Little info, we do not flavor the shells of macaroons (with very rare exceptions) because the mixture is very fragile, the slightest imbalance in the basic recipe and it is the drama. So it’s the filling that gives the taste.
Conversely, the original macaroons (known as Nancy macaroons) are only made up of a single shell and are much stronger in almond powder. And FYI (although it probably only interests me) I prefer Nancy’s macaroons ^^. I’m crazy about this little taste of ground almonds.
Tips for successful lemon macaroons
Just like the Italian meringue vs French meringue fight, everyone has their own little piece of advice. Mercotte, for example, recommends using aged egg whites. That’s what I did with this recipe. I left my whites for about 3 weeks in the fridge. Another tip: separating the whites into 2 parts. I don’t know if you remember, but a few years ago we whipped up all the egg whites that we added to the tant pour tant. The current trend is to add some of the unwhipped whites to bind the mixture. Add the whipped egg whites in a second step. This avoids making the whipped egg whites fall too much while macarooning.
She also recommends drying her ground almonds in the oven for 10 minutes (humidity being the great enemy of macaroons). It wasn’t in Christelle’s recipe but I made it anyway (I really really wanted to make these macaroons ^^).
1st step: the realization of so much for so much
Good student, I started by roasting my almond powder at 160°C for 10 minutes to dry it well.
Then, as the recipe recommends, I blended and sieved it. I find this step super tedious but it is absolutely essential to have very smooth shells.
2nd step: adding liquid whites
Then, I added the first part of the egg whites to have an already liquid mixture before adding the whipped egg whites.
3rd step: making the Italian meringue
I hope you’ll excuse me for the absence of photos in this section but as this step is a bit “touchy” I didn’t want to stop to take photos ^^. It’s not that complicated in the end though. My failures on the last tests had put unnecessary pressure on me because by following Christelle’s recipe it went away on its own!
On one side, gently beat the egg whites in a food processor. This is when we add a touch of food coloring to color the shells. On the other side, we prepare a syrup with the water and the sugar which we bring to 118°C (the thermometer is essential!).
When the mixture reaches the desired temperature, pour the syrup in a trickle along the tank (this is important so that the incorporation is done well). Then just continue beating for a good ten minutes until the mixture cools. The Italian meringue is ready!
4th step: macarooning
So that’s where it gets tough my brave Lucette! Gently add the whipped egg whites to the almond powder/liquid egg white mixture. And we “macaronne”: it is a question of mixing the egg whites well with the almond mixture. You have to crush the whites well on the edge of the salad bowl to make the mixture homogeneous. When the preparation is homogeneous, it should normally form a ribbon (ie the preparation should be thick enough to take a few seconds to fall).
Then we put the mixture in a pastry bag and we pipe small circles in staggered rows (3 cm max, mine are a little big). The ideal is to pipe the macaroons on parchment paper with a perforated plate under which you place a template. The template is important because it allows you to poach regularly, whether in size or position.
5th step: cooking
Some time ago, we only swore by the crusting of macaroons before baking (leaving them in the open air for at least 15 minutes before putting them in the oven) but I have the impression that that is getting lost. I did it for this batch, but you will see at my Masterclass at Richard Sève that we didn’t do it and that it worked very well too! On the other hand, it is essential to tap the baking sheet several times on the work surface to distribute the batter evenly and avoid bubbles.
Then, it is cooked at 160° C. (convection heat) for 13 minutes. Be careful, as Christelle indicates in her recipe, it’s all a question of the oven and attention. You really have to test with your equipment to have a perfect cooking. Besides, what is perfect cooking? Well, it’s when the collar has developed well, the macaroon is cooked on top and it comes off the parchment paper on its own. If you think the cooking is good but the macaron does not come off, you can pass a small trickle of water between the baking sheet and the parchment paper. With the steam generated by the heat of the plate at the exit of the oven, the shells will take off on their own! They are then ready to be filled!
6th step: making the lemon curd
I never took the time to post the recipe for lemon curd when I make it often. But in fact, it’s the same process that we use to make the lemon curd in the lemon pie. There are several techniques but personally I put the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and beaten eggs in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring regularly. The cream will begin to thicken until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise. Then remove it from the heat and add the pieces of butter, mixing well. If there are pieces left (for example coagulated egg whites) you can pass a little bit of an immersion blender to make the preparation very smooth.
Then, all that remains is to fill the shells and voila! Delicious homemade lemon macaroons!
Coques macarons (environ 60 coques)
- 250 g de poudre d'amande
- 250 g de sucre glace
- 85 g de blancs d’œufs (à mélanger à la poudre d'amandes)
- 250 g de sucre en poudre
- 85 g de blancs d’œufs (à monter en neige)
- 70 g d'eau
- 1 pointe de colorant alimentaire (poudre ou gel)
- 3 œufs
- 125 g de sucre
- 2 citrons soit 120 ml de jus environ
- 50 g de beurre
- 2 g d'agar agar ou, à défaut, 1 cuillère à soupe de fécule de maïs
Réalisation des coques de macarons
- Torréfier la poudre d'amandes au four pendant 10 minutes à 160°.250 g de poudre d'amande
- Réaliser le "tant pour tant" en mixant ensemble la poudre d'amandes et le sucre glace. Tamiser la préparation.250 g de sucre glace
- Dans la cuve du robot équipée de la feuille, mélanger le tant pour tant avec la première partie des blancs d’œufs. Réserver.85 g de blancs d’œufs
- Mettre le reste des blancs dans la cuve du robot avec le fouet. Mettre le sucre et l'eau dans une casserole et porter à 118°C. Lorsque le sirop atteint 110 °C, commencer à fouetter les blancs de manière vigoureuse.250 g de sucre en poudre, 85 g de blancs d’œufs, 70 g d'eau
- Quand le sirop est à 118° C, le verser délicatement dans les blancs d’œufs et continuer de fouetter. Le mélange doit refroidir et atteindre environ 50 °C. N'oubliez pas d'incorporer une petite pointe de colorant à cette étape.1 pointe de colorant alimentaire (poudre ou gel)
- Ajouter délicatement le "tant pour tant" et macaronner pour obtenir une préparation en ruban. Verser dans une poche à douille et pocher sur une plaque des dômes de 3 cm de diamètre.
- Faire cuire à 160°C pendant 13 minutes (à adapter en fonction de votre four).
- Mélanger le jus de citron, les œufs, le sucre et la fécule de maïs. Mettre dans une casserole à fond épais et chauffer doucement tout en remuant. Le mélange va épaissir et faire des bulles.3 œufs, 2 citrons, 2 g d'agar agar, 125 g de sucre
- Retirer du feu et ajouter le beurre. Bien mélanger et mixer si besoin pour obtenir une préparation bien lisse.50 g de beurre
- Pocher et garnir les coques de macaron.