It seems like lately I’ve been stuck on dark and moody shots. Well today not so much. Today I’m going the opposite way with these brightly shot and brightly flavored lemon meringue macarons. Sandwiched between the macaron cookies and at the center of the toasted meringue is a burst of lemon curd to give the ensemble a sweet and tart flavoring.
Let’s go random chat style and discuss the latest trend in food styling. Have you heard? It’s smash food. It’s true, smash food is way in. Okay, I lie. There is no such trend. I’m just trying to sell you on my latest styling kick. And let’s not get all analytical and “heady” about this. I happen to like messy shots and I like photographing the messiness of smashed food even more. For me it’s like finding beauty in the undone.
But since smash food doesn’t sell, I took a few shots prior to the mallet smashing. Now, I’m curious, would you agree the smash macaron shot is the best of three in this post?
Lemon Meringue Macarons
Preparation: Heat oven to 330 degrees. Line bake sheet with parchment.
Yield: Makes approximately 35 macarons
- 135g egg whites
- 55g granulated sugar
- 145 g almond meal
- 215g powdered sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
To make macaron cookie
- Trace out 1 inch circles on parchment and set this aside as a “master copy”. Reserve two extra sheets of parchment and set aside.
- Place egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and fit mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium low speed until egg whites start to form loose translucent bubbles. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue turns foamy and white and starts to resemble well lathered shampoo, about 2 minutes. Increase mixer to high and beat until meringue holds glossy stiff peaks, about another 2-3 minutes. Turn off mixer.
- Process almond meal and powdered sugar in a food processor and then push it through a fine mesh sieve to sift.
- Add dry ingredients to meringue. Using a sturdy spatula fold and smash dry mixture into meringue against the bowl for about 20-25 folds. Don’t worry about being gentle the idea is to knock the air out of it. The batter should hold its shape when spooned on itself and start to slowly flatten out after about 15-20 seconds. Start checking the batter after 20 folds for readiness. Transfer batter to pastry bag and let rest for 20 minutes before piping.
- Place master copy of drawn circles on a bake sheet and then place a sheet of parchment on top. Fill a pastry bag with batter and pipe until batter reaches edge of circle. Remove master copy from underneath piped layer and place on second bake sheet and pipe remaining batter (remove master copy and save for future use).Take hold of each pan and give it quick hard tap against the counter, turn the pan 90 degrees and give it another quick hard tap. This will deflate any bubbles and prevent cracked shells.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Leave shells to cool completely on pan. Shells will cleanly peel away from parchment when ready.
To make meringue
- Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and place it over—not on, (think bain marie style) simmering water. Heat mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools, doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes.
- Pipe lemon curd on one shell. Pipe meringue on top and over lemon curd. Place a second shell on of lemon and meringue piped cookie to create a sandwich effect.
- Place fully assembled macaron on a fire proof surface and quickly torch edge of filling for a toasted meringue finish.
- *Optional: Pipe a dollop of meringue on very top and garnish with a raspberry.
- For notes on basic macaroning click here (go to the notes section).
- I know I keep repeating myself with this, but save yourself some money and just buy a Bernzomatic propane torch instead of one of these kitchen torches you usually see in William Sonoma and Sur la Table. They can be twice the price and aren’t nearly as strong.
- To make homemade lemon curd click here.
- To color the shells, I used two drops of Americolor's Electric Green. And yes, I missed up there a bit since I meant to use electric yellow.