Ever since I took a macaron class at Sur La Table a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for an excuse to test my skills. The royal wedding this weekend served as my inspiration (the wedding cake, to be specific–the lemon & elderflower flavors sounded really interesting).
I used the same basic recipe for the shells as the one we made in class (this recipe is the same, you just use different flavoring & food coloring depending on what you’re going for). In this case, I wanted the shells to be lemon flavored, so I added 1 tbsp of lemon zest (very fine zest, otherwise it’ll get stuck in the piping tip), and some yellow food coloring.
I think I did pretty well, except I didn’t get the batter quite thin enough before I started piping, so the macarons ended up a little too thick and didn’t spread as far as they should have. I also need to practice piping so that I get rid of the point that sticks up on many of them (again, getting the batter thinner before piping would have allowed the points to collapse).
Since they were thicker than they should have been, I let them dry for about 90 min before baking. I also baked them at 295 instead of 300 (and I know my oven temperature runs a little on the low side generally, so it was probably even cooler than that). I figured if I didn’t cook them quite as quickly, the tops might crack a little less.
On the first tray, many of them did crack, although they still looked a lot better than any of my previous attempts at macarons. The 2nd tray hardly cracked at all and most of them developed the feet that they’re supposed to have, so I was quite pleased.
For the filling, I made a white chocolate ganache (12 oz chopped white chocolate + 1/3 cup heavy cream, melted over a pot of hot water). I added 1.5 tbsp of elderflower syrup (you could probably use elderflower liqueur as well), and some purple food coloring to create a purple color. Elderflowers are white, of course, but white chocolate ends up looking yellow once melted, so I always like to add some color to it. Purple is a good royal color, and also the color of the elderberries that eventually come from elderflowers, so I thought it would work nicely.
The last step was assembly. I started off by piping a little bit of lemon curd into the center of each base. I then piped the ganache around the lemon curd core, and topped with the other shell. I placed the finished macarons in the fridge, and will share with my coworkers tomorrow (I had to sample a couple of the messier ones, of course, and I’m quite pleased with the flavor combo).
Overall, I was quite happy with the results. I can still improve my technique of course, but these look good enough that I won’t be embarrassed to share them. I’ve also made great progress on my piping skills and feel reasonably competent with a piping bag now.