It’s almost mid-October and I haven’t made anything with pumpkin yet.
I already have made two apple pies (one was a test, the other a burnt mishap) but pumpkin has yet to grace my kitchen this fall. Maybe it’s because with weather in the 80s it still feels like summer, but I’m not quite ready to dive into pumpkin just yet.
This was in part an effort to try to troubleshoot a reader’s challenges with the Earl Grey Macarons, plus I had a lot of lemon curd stored in my freezer, and thus these macarons were born. I generally will always choose chocolate-flavored things but in the event that it’s not available, tart citrus flavors are my next favorite. Because you end up with leftover egg whites when making the lemon curd, this recipe is a pretty perfect complement.
These macarons have the floral essence of earl grey with the creamy zing of lemon curd. I will eat lemon curd on almost anything—waffles, pancakes, crepes, cake, muffins etc. It was only natural that I would put them in macarons, too! It’s very easy to get intimidated by macarons and since I hadn’t made them in a while, I had to think through carefully how to make them again. I do like how the process of macarons is methodical and very satisfying in the end. After making them multiple times, you find your groove and just want to make more and more.
There are tons and tons of resources on the Internet and in cookbooks about the best way to make the most perfect macaron. There are so many factors (like baking environment, weather etc.) that I believe you should just keep making them and you will find what works for you. So here are some of the things I aim to achieve when making macarons.
Beat your egg whites until stiff and glossy. If you turn the mixing bowl upside down, they shouldn’t fall out or move.
Folding in a third of the dry ingredients before adding the rest helps to make sure it gets incorporated evenly in the end.
Make sure your macaronage passes the “figure 8” test and then stop folding. This means that when the batter flows from the spatula, you should be able to draw a figure 8 and it will sit on top of the batter before sinking back into itself. Too stiff and it won’t be able to form the shape, too thin and the macarons will flatten like pancakes when piped.
Once piped, bang the pans of macarons to help release air bubbles and let them sit and form a skin before baking.
And if anything, you’ll have lots and lots of macarons to taste.
Tell me what flavor combination I should try next!
Earl Grey Macarons with Lemon Curd
Yields: approximately 2 dozen macarons
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
⅔ cups almond flour
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 bags Earl Grey tea
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
Pinch of salt
1 stick butter, softened
Round piping tip (#12)
Whip the egg whites and sugar on high until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should look glossy and if you turn the mixing bowl upside down, they shouldn’t fall out or move.
Sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and tea leaves. Fold this gently into the beaten egg whites until the consistency of the macaronage (the batter) becomes like molten lava. You want your batter to pass the "figure 8" test. This means you should be able to make a figure 8 on the top of the batter before it sinks back into itself. It's too thick if the batter can't make a complete figure 8 and too thin if it sinks back into itself like pancake batter.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Place the batter in the piping bag with the round piping tip. Pipe into 1½-inch circles, spacing them ½-inch apart. Tap the pan a few times firmly on a flat surface to release the air bubbles. Allow the macaronage to dry and form a skin on top. This can take up to ½-1½ hours depending on the level of humidity.
In the meantime, make the lemon curd. Fill a medium saucepan, about halfway full, with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
In a glass or metal bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Set over the saucepan of simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches 170ºF. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat (careful it is hot!), add butter and whisk until smooth. Place over the bowl of ice water. Let mixture stand at room temperature until cooled and thickened.
Once the macarons have formed a skin (you should be able to run your finger lightly on the top and it will remain dry), bake in a 350ºF oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown and the macaron shells have hardened.
Take them out of the oven, let them cool completely, and then remove them from the parchment paper and/or Silpat. Using a knife or piping bag, spread the lemon curd on one macaron shell and gently press another on top. Continue with the rest of the macaron shells and lemon curd.