You may have seen it on Instagram, I was invited to Chocolaterie Sève in Lyon to learn how to make macarons. Richard Sève (and his wife Gaëlle, that’s a team!) are one of the few chocolatiers in France who produce their own chocolate (what we call a bean-to-bar chocolatier). I learned a lot of things about macarons that I will share with you. But before that, I had already made lemon macarons from Christelle’s pastry recipes (I know they always work great!). So today I present you lemon macarons according to “Il était une fois la Pâtisserie”. And I will give you the recipe and tips from Richard Sève in another article.
So, a little detail to start with, I used to hate making macarons! To be honest, it’s the only recipe that I failed more often than succeeded in my life ^^. I find it super long and as I usually end up messing up my shells, the time investment seemed insurmountable! But I’m getting the hang of it, I think I’ll be making them more often in the future.
French meringue or Italian meringue?
Maybe you missed it, but Christelle had bluffed Cyril Lignac with her apple macarons during her performance at the Rois du Gâteau. So I knew I was in good hands with this recipe. But when it comes to making lemon macarons, there are a billion ways to do it and every person will tell you that it’s much better to do it this way for this or that reason.
Christelle uses Italian meringue because she says it makes the shells crispier on top, but just as soft on the inside. This method is said to be a bit more stable (and therefore more reliable for the novice). But it requires more equipment since it requires a thermometer and a food processor (or a friend to hold the whisk when pouring the sugar into the bowl).
The principle of macarons
Some information before entering the heart of the subject of these lemon macarons. The macaroon as we know it today is a macaroon called “Paris”. It consists of 2 shells stuck together with ganache or butter cream (popularized by the House of Ladurée).
The shells are made of a “tant pour tant” (i.e. a mixture of equal parts of almond powder and powdered sugar) to which meringue is added. A little information, we do not perfume the macarons shells (with very rare exceptions) because the mixture is very fragile, the slightest imbalance in the basic recipe and it is the drama. It is therefore the filling that gives the taste.
On the other hand, the original macarons (called macarons de Nancy) are composed of only one shell and are much stronger in almond powder. And for the record (although it probably only interests me) I prefer the macarons of Nancy ^^. I’m crazy about that little almond powder flavor.
Tips for successful lemon macarons
Just like the Italian meringue vs. French meringue battle, everyone has their own little tip. Mercotte, for example, recommends using aged egg whites. That’s what I did with this recipe. I left my whites in the fridge for about 3 weeks. Another tip is to separate the whites into 2 parts. I don’t know if you remember, but a few years ago we used to whip up all the egg whites and add them to the egg whites. The current trend is to add some of the unmixed whites to bind the mixture. The whites are added in a second time. This prevents the whites from falling back too much while making the macarons.
She also recommends to dry the almond powder in the oven for 10 minutes (humidity being the great enemy of macarons). It was not in Christelle’s recipe but I did it anyway (I really wanted to make these macarons ^^).
1st step : the realization of the “fifty for fifty”
A 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 sifted it. I find this step super tedious, but it’s absolutely essential to have smooth shells.
2nd step : adding the liquid whites
Then, I added the first part of the whites to have an already liquid mixture before adding the whites.
Step 3: Making the Italian meringue
You will excuse me I hope, the absence of photos in this section but as this stage is a little “touchy” I did not want to stop to make photos ^^. It’s not so complicated in the end. My failures on the last attempts had put me under unnecessary pressure because by following Christelle’s recipe it went by itself!
On the one hand, you gently whip the egg whites in a food processor. It is at this moment that one adds a point of dye to color the shells. On the other side, we prepare a syrup with water and sugar that we bring to 118°C (the thermometer is essential!).
When the mixture reaches the desired temperature, pour the syrup in a trickle down the sides of the bowl (this is important for proper incorporation). Then continue to beat for a good ten minutes until the mixture cools. The Italian meringue is ready!
4th step: “macaroning”
So, this is where it gets tricky my brave Lucette! The whipped egg whites are delicately added to the almond powder/white mixture. And we “macarone”: it is a question of mixing well the egg whites with the almond mixture. You have to crush the whites on the edge of the bowl to make the mixture homogeneous. When the mixture is homogeneous, it should normally form a ribbon (i.e. the mixture should be thick enough to take a few seconds to fall).
Then we put the mixture in a piping bag and we pocket small circles in staggered (3 cm maximum, mine are a little big). The ideal is to poach the macarons on a greaseproof paper with a perforated plate under which we place a template. The template is important because it allows you to poach evenly in size and position.
5th step: cooking
A while back, we swore by crusting the macarons before baking (leaving them out in the air for at least 15 minutes before baking) but I feel like that’s getting lost. I did it for this batch, but you’ll see at my Masterclass at Richard Sève’s that we didn’t do it and it worked just fine too! However, it is essential to tap the baking sheet several times on the work surface to distribute the dough well and avoid bubbles.
Then, we bake at 160°C (revolving heat) during 13 minutes. Be careful, as Christelle indicates in her recipe, it’s all a question of oven and attention. You really have to test with your equipment to have a perfect cooking. By the way, what is a perfect cooking? Well, it’s when the collar has developed well, the macaroon is cooked on top and it comes off the parchment paper by itself. If you think that the macaroon is cooked well but does not come off, you can put a small trickle of water between the baking sheet and the parchment paper. With the steam generated by the heat of the baking sheet when it comes out of the oven, the shells will come off by themselves! They are then ready to be filled!
6th step: making the lemon curd
I never took the time to post the lemon curd recipe even though I make it often. But in fact, it’s the same process we use to make lemon curd in lemon pie. There are several techniques but personally I put the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and beaten eggs in a heavy bottomed pan. We put to heat on soft fire while mixing regularly. The cream will start to thicken until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise. One withdraws it then from fire and one adds the pieces of butter while mixing well. If there are still pieces left (for example coagulated egg whites), you can use a hand blender to make the preparation smooth.
And if you still don’t feel confortable, please visit Successful macaroons: 28 tips from a French Pastry Girl
Then, all that’s left to do is fill the shells and voilà! Delicious homemade lemon macarons!
The recipe and all the tips to make delicious homemade lemon macarons! Never miss your macarons again!
- 250 g almond powder
- 250 g icing sugar
- 85 g egg whites (to be mixed with the almond powder)
- 250 g 250 g sugar
- 85 g egg whites (to be beaten)
- 70 g water
- 1 pinch of food coloring (powder or gel)
- 3 eggs
- 125 g sugar
- 2 lemons (120 mL of lemon juice)
- 50 g of butter
- 2 g of agar-agar (or 1 spoon of cornstach)
Roast the almond powder in the oven for 10 minutes at 160°.
Make the "fifty for fifty" by mixing together the almond powder and powdered sugar. Sift the preparation.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the foil, mix the fifty for fifty with the first part of the egg whites. Set aside.
Place the remaining egg whites in the food processor with the whisk attachment. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to 118°C. When the syrup reaches 110°C, start whisking the whites vigorously.
When the syrup reaches 118°C, carefully pour it into the egg whites and continue whisking. The mixture should cool to about 50°C. Don't forget to add a small amount of coloring at this stage.
Carefully add the "fifty for fifty" and pipe to obtain a ribbon-like preparation. Pour into a piping bag and poach on a plate domes of 3 cm in diameter.
Faire cuire à 160°C pendant 13 minutes (à adapter en fonction de votre four).
Combine lemon juice, eggs, sugar and cornstarch. Place in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently while stirring. The mixture will thicken and bubble.
Remove from heat and add butter. Mix well and blend if necessary to obtain a smooth preparation.
Poach and fill the macaron shells.