With Batch #3 I decided to try a totally different flavour by using lemons. I used a bit more coloring in the macronage this time, but the shells were still not as intensely yellow colored as I would have liked. Nonetheless, I thought the pastel yellow didn't look too bad. I think I underbeat the macronage a bit, and so the peaks left after I pipe the shells never quite disappeared. This resulted in shells that have a slight "nipple" on top. Fortunately, taste-wise it didn't make any difference.
Peaks on my macaron shells after baking.....
I also tried making 2 different fillings to give my taste-testers some variety. The first filling I made was a lemon curd marscapone. I did not have time to make the curd from scratch, (we DO still have to look after the kids while all the macaron-making is happening!), although it would've been a great way to use up all the egg yolks I had left from making the meringue. I combined some store bought curd with the marscapone. The resultant filling was a little runnier than I'd like, but firmed up okay with some time spent in the fridge. The lemon butter cream was easy to make, and I really liked the citrus zing which went really well with the essentially sweet shell. In the end I think my taste-testers voted the lemon butter cream their favourite.
Lemon curd marscapone macaron on the left, lemon butter cream macaron on the right.
Lessons Learned :
Letting the macarons mature in the fridge is very, very, VERY important! When the macarons are first made and assembled, the shells are waaaay too crunchy and the flavour of the filling often has not developed yet . Depending on the filling, macarons will be ideally matured after 36-72 hours in the fridge. The reason for this 'waiting time' is that the moisture in the filling needs to be drawn into the shell. The ideal macaron is slightly crunchy to the bite, with the centre being soft and slightly chewy. When the macarons are ready to be served, they should be removed from the fridge and brought back to room temperature, which will usually take about 30 minutes.