What do you talk on a food blog when you don't feel like talking about food? I mean, don't get me wrong, I lovelovelove talking about food. But sometimes it gets a little boring just going on about what you made and how good it is.
These macarons are very, very, good, just to get that out of the way. It's not their fault I'm a little writer's block-y right now.
So instead, I'm going to talk about George Eliot. I just read Middlemarch, which was incredibly good, though I'm not sure why. The book is about this little imaginary English town called Middlemarch and the lives of its occupants, just them, going about their daily lives, doing business, losing money, getting married, getting old. Completely unremarkable yet extremely compelling.
I guess as a lit major I'm supposed to be able to analyze the book better, but all I can say is that I was strangely into it. The characters are so very unremarkable yet so real, and it's a little bit unnerving to see bits of yourself in them.
So anyways, back to the macarons. It's actually kind of embarrassing how long these photos have been knocking around on my hard drive before I finally got around to posting them. I actually made these the same week I made these cherry profiteroles...back in August. The photography is the same style and everything, now that I think about it. Their flavor also inspired these rosemary lemon scones, even though they were posted first.
Well, now I'm really rambling, just like a 19th century English novel. Basically, you should make these macarons; they have this earthy herb-y flavor which pairs perfectly with the bright, sweet, and tart lemon curd filling. Don't let macarons intimidate you; they may take a few tries to get ones that look perfect, but they don't have to look pretty to taste great. (For more on macarons, you can find my step-by-step macaron tutorial here.)
So give them a try. Oh, and read Middlemarch.
Rosemary Lemon Macarons
Adapted from Bravetart
2 oz. (58 g) Almond Flour or Almonds (with or without their skins)
4 oz. (115 g) Powdered sugar
½ teaspoon Dried Rosemary
1.25 oz. (36 g) Granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1 g) Salt
2.5 oz. (72 g) Egg whites (about 2 eggs)
Yellow food coloring (optional)
A few drops of water (optional)
1/3 cup lemon curd (recipe below)
If you’re using whole almonds, you’ll need to grind them. Place the almonds in a food processor and roughly grind them. It doesn’t need to be too fine, but there shouldn’t be any large chunks. Add in two or three tablespoons of powdered sugar and the rosmeary and continue grinding the almonds until they are very fine. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and grind for another 15-30 seconds. If you’re using almond flour, just pulse together the almond flour, powder sugar and rosemary.
Make the meringue. Mix together the granulated sugar and salt. In a very clean bowl, begin beating the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1-2 minutes. Increase speed to medium, and gradually add the granulated sugar-salt mixture, and beat until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to high, and beat until the meringue is very stiff and shiny, about 2-3 minutes.
Hold a mesh strainer over the meringue, and sift the almond mixture over the meringue. Return any pieces that don’t pass through the strainer to the food processor, and grind them some more, and sift them again. There may still be a few bits that are too big (less than a tablespoonful); just add them to the meringue.
Begin folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. Be sure to scrape the edges of the bowl. When done, the batter should be think, but somewhat fluid. Do the ribbon and/glop test to check.
Ribbon test: hold a spatula-full of batter over the bowl, and it should fall into the bowl in a thick ribbon. The ribbon should re-incorporate into the batter within about 30 seconds.
Glop test: drop a spoonful of batter onto a plate. The peak should smooth out within 10 seconds.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silipat.
Put the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip about ¼-inch wide. Pipe out 1-inch wide circles, leaving around 1 inch between circles.
Rap the baking sheet against a counter or tape several times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter. You should see bubbles rise to the top and pop.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the batter to rest in open air until the tops are set; when you lightly touch the circles with a finger, no batter sticks to it.
Put the macarons in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cookies can come cleanly off the parchment paper, and the insides are done. (They should be slightly damp on the inside, but not wet and sticky.)
Allow the macarons to cool, and fill with lemon curd. (See recipe below). Spoon about ½ tablespoon of curd onto a macaron, and top with another macaron.
(Optional) Mix together about ¼ teaspoon yellow food coloring with a few drops of water. Use a pastry brush to brush on some food coloring on the top of the macarons.
Adapted from Bakers Royale
½ cup lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
Put the lemon juice, zest, and sugar into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and continue cooking until the butter is melted.
Whisk the egg yolks until fluffy.
Slowly pour about ¼ cup of the juice mixture into the yolks, while continuously whisking.
Pour the yolk/juice mixture back into the sauce pan, and continue cooking until the curd thickens and a spoon leaves a clear trail in the curd.
Take the curd off the heat and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.