Lemon Curd Macarons / Luxemburgerli
I know that there are lots of Macaron (or Luxemburgerli) recipes all around (and, therefore, it is far from being original to make one), but my niece simply informed me that we were baking Macarons together, leaving me with very little choice.
The technique we used was influenced by this blog (and originally developed by Alain Ducasse). Below you can find our variant with full comments. Although this requires a lot of work, the result is very tasty making it all worthwhile…
For the Macarons:
110 gr. almond flour
225 gr. sugar powder
125 gr. aged egg whites
50 gr. sugar
*3 drops of yellow food colorant
For the Lemon Curd:
4 egg yolks
100 gr. sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
70 ml. lemon juice (roughly, a joice of 1.5 average lemons)
Pinch of salt
70 gr. butter cut into small cubes
3 gr. gelatin (sheet)
* the required amount of food colorant can vary. I had a very concentrated one, so 1 drop was enough
Start with soaking the gelatin in a cold water.
Either using a spoon or directly with your fingers, mash the sugar with he lemon zest and leave the mixture for 30 minutes. In a small pan mix the yolks with sugar, zest and the lemon juice. Cook the mixture on a water bath, on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, constantly stirring with a whisk until it thickens. There is a very simple way to check if the mixture is thick enough – put a wooden spoon into the pan and then remove it.
The best way to check if the cream is thick enough is the following: cover a spoon with the cream, move your finger over the spoon surface creating a “border” between too parts covered with the cream and see if the cream “crawls back” into the created border zone. If it doesn’t, the thickness is correct.
Remove from heat and gradually add butter (cut into small cubes) and salt, mixing into a uniform mass. Press the gelatin sheet thoroughly to remove the extra liquids and put it into a warm curd (wait for it to melt completely). Put the pan on a cold water bath and cool the mixture while stirring. This last step is very important, as it prevents formation of a thin “film” layer on top of the creme. If you forget it, the film layer can be removed later, of course. After cooling down the mixture should be put away in a refrigerator (overnight).
Macarons (the cookie part):
In a bowl, mix the almond flour with sugar powder. In order to mix it thoroughly, either use a whisk, or do it in a mixer (medium speed for approximately 3 minutes). Afterwards, spread the mixture on a baking pan covered with baking paper and warm in the oven at 160C for 5 minutes. (The oven should be pre-heated). The idea is to warm the mixturе. After warming, soft the mixture back to the bowl.
In a mixer, beat the egg whites into a foam and add sugar. Keep mixing until a uniform and stable condition. (While doing this I realized that it would have been better to add sugar to egg whites before the beating, allowing the sugar to melt completely and the egg whites are beaten much smoother, preventing the risk of “overbeating” and leaving sugar “grains” in the mixture).
Carefully combine the two mixtures and mix further with a spatula – mixing from the bottom to the top, rotating the bowl clockwise. Add the colorant and mix again into a uniform paste. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe (press) the macarons on to a baking pan (usually a tray from the oven) covered with a sheet of baking paper, making round “cookies” 3-4 cms in diameter. Drawing circles on the paper in advance (or buying a special “macarons sheet”) could help making them all the same size. When the dough (paste) is mixed correctly, after pressing the macaron, the “tail” clears up by itself forming a smooth and even round surface on the “cookie”. Leave the pan/tray with the cookies at a room temperature for 30-60 minutes until the exterior of the cookies is covered with a thin crust.
Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Bake the macarons for 13-15 minutes. Leave them in the tray for 5 more minutes (to cool down a bit), and then move them to a grill surface for full cooling to room temperature.
Final “construction” of the Macarons:
Using a pastry bag press a small amount of curd on one of the almond cookies and cover it with another one. Press softly (the cream inside the macaron should be on the same level as the cookie). Chill in a refrigerator for a day (or keep in the refrigerator until serving).
For comparison, the below photo shows a macaron made by a professional bakery in Alsace, France.
In this case, its a Cassis-flavored macaron (with cassis jam), but, comparing the looks, my home-made one doesn’t look much different (or, actually, looks better), right?