After finally mastering the macaron after plenty (and i mean PLENTY) of tries and fails, I have FINALLY been able to actually test new flavours and fillings. After making my Passionfruit Macarons which turned out so delicious, I wanted to make another flavour which was just as tasty.
Thats where these babies come in. When I first thought of doing a lemon macaron, I wanted to have a lemon macaron shell and a lemon filling. One of the most difficult things to make is a macaron shell and when I started adding lemon zest to them, they came out all bumpy and liquid flavourings would make the mixture runny. I decided that the macaron shell itself needed to be a normal macaron shell, coloured yellow and then the filling is what will pack a punch of flavour.
The filling is a lemon swiss meringue buttercream. For anyone who doesn’t know what swiss meringue buttercream is, it is essentially when you heat up egg whites to a specific temperature to pasteurise the eggs (basically kill any bacteria) and then whipping up with a tonne of butter to make what looks like glossy uncooked meringue which then turns into a smooth buttercream. People who want crisp edges on cakes tend to use this type of buttercream as it is much easier to work with, gets smooth very easily and also holds up well to flavourings. However, some people think it tastes “buttery” but my personal opinion is that I love it! And have found that when put onto birthday cakes etc clients absolutely love the texture and taste compared to normal buttercream icing!
This specific swiss meringue buttercream is not made for just macarons it is a delicious filling that can be used on larger cakes or even cupcakes so if you make this and love the taste and have some leftover use on other baking things! I use lemon zest and lemon juice from real lemons in this buttercream, which really zings in the mouth when you bite into it!
If i would have known these were going to be so delicious, I would have done a step-by-step with photos to help show you what the texture should be like of the macarons shells and for the filling. However, I have got more information on my Passionfruit Macaron recipe so if you want to make this flavour but need more images, check out that recipe as the same essential tips for the perfect macaron shell apply! Also, I am currently in the works of making a chocolate macaron which has a slightly different texture so I will make sure to take lots of photos to give you all a better understanding of how to make them as for me, I find images much more helpful that just a recipe on paper!
I hope you guys enjoy this one, I have used them as decoration on cakes recently and have been getting tonnes of compliments as they are honestly so tasty and zingy!! The perfect balance of sweetness and sour from the lemon. Let me know if you give them a go, follow me over on Instagram @merakibaking or tag me #merakibaking so I can see! Thanks for following and supporting me, have a lovely day everyone wherever you are in the world! Recipe is just below!
For the macaron shells:
- 3 Large egg whites
- 50g Caster sugar
- 200g Icing sugar
- 110g Ground almonds
- Yellow gel food colouring
- 2 Large egg whites
- 100g Caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp Cream of tartar
- 226g Unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Zest from 1-2 lemons
- 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Start by making the macaron shells. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, I tend to put a macaron piping help guideline underneath which I will remove before baking. You can also use a silicon non-slip mat.
- Place the icing sugar and ground almonds into a food processor and blitz together for around 30 seconds. This makes the two powders combine and grinds up any smaller bits which makes for an even smoother macaron shell. This is not essential but if you skip this step you may have bumpier macaron shells.
- Then whisk the egg whites using a stand mixer until whites are foamy and have soft peaks. This is when you can add any food colouring you like, I added a couple drops of yellow gel food colouring (it must be gel or powder) until it reached the colour I liked. Then, add caster sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are glossy and hold soft peaks still.
- Sift the almond and icing sugar mixture over the egg whites and fold to combine. This is the crucial stage as you can either overmix or undermix. The rule of thumb is the more you mix, the more runny the mixture gets as you are removing more air. Many recipes tend to talk about “careful” folding which I have found from experience scares people into actually not mixing enough! So keep mixing until you have reached ribbon stage, where you can lift the spoon up and draw a figure of 8 with the mixture.
- Once you think you have reached the ribbon stage, practice by only putting a small amount of mixture into a piping bag. Pipe one macaron and if the “peak” of the macaron does not flatten down then you need to fold the mixture a few more times. If it flattens but holds its shape, then continue.
- Place the rest of the mixture into the piping bag and pipe macarons shapes about 4cm circle diameters. I use a guideline to help with piping.
- Once all the macarons have been piped, leave to sit at room temperature until a skin forms. This cake take from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. You will be able to touch the macaron gently and not have any mixture stick to your finger and it will feel dry on the top. You can also make the filling during this time if you prefer.
- Once dried, pre-heat the oven to 140°C. Bake the macarons for around 12-14 minutes until set but not browned. If you touch one with your finger, they should feel firm on top but not be wobbling. If they still wobble at the bottom leave for another 2-3 minutes. I start checking mine after 10 minutes but usually need another 4-5 on top.
- Leave to cool completely on the original baking tray and then carefully peel from the baking parchment and set aside while you make the filling.
- To make the buttercream, in a double boiler place the egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar into a large bowl on top of simmering water and heat until the mixture reaches 160°C on a thermometer. The mixture will be too hot to comfortably touch and this can take around 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly your mixture heats up.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk until you reach stiff peaks and the mixture has cooled down, around 10 minutes on a high speed.
- Lower the speed to medium and start adding the butter a small bit at a time. Let it combine fully then add more. Once you have added all the butter and it is fully combined, add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Leave at room temperature.
- With the cooled macaron shells, try to find the perfect matches in shape and size first. Then add your buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a small amount of filling onto one of the macaron shells. Place the other shell on top and press down lightly.
- These can be kept in the fridge for around 3 days in an airtight container, bringing to room temperature before eating each time. They are best freshly made.
- Go to my Passionfruit Macaron recipe to see a step-by-step of making macaron shells.
- You can colour the macaron shells any colour you like, using gel food colouring or powder. Do not use the water food colouring as this will ruin the consistency. I used yellow as they are lemon flavour which I think goes well with the white filling.
- If you have any lemon curd, pipe a border of buttercream and fill with 1/2 tsp of curd for a different texture.