Like all teachers, I've been looking forward to this long Summer break for months. Time seems elastic at this time of year, stretching out for far longer than it should over the last bittersweet few weeks of the school year, but then racing away at top speed as soon as the holiday starts. Consequently my long to-do-list for the Summer holidays is still... long.
One thing that I have managed to achieve though is making macarons. I've been planning to make these again ever since being inspired by Ben, but it's the kind of thing that takes some planning - aging the egg whites for a few days, leaving the macarons to dry out slightly before cooking, etc. It definitely helps to be around all day when you're making them.
The recipe I used is the one I've used before, and can be found here. As I'm still on my lemon-kick I decided to go with that flavour for the macarons.
My Meri White is a little (*cough* 2 years...) out of date, but it smelled and tasted OK so I used it anyway... 'Best Before, not Poisonous After' is my motto! I wanted to flavour the macarons themselves as well as the filling, so added half a tsp of Boyajian Lemon Oil to the batter, as well as some yellow colouring.
I might have gone a little over the top with the yellow colouring actually, it's certainly very 'sunny'. But I like it.
I did use the food processor to get rid of the lumps in my icing sugar and ground almonds, but even so my macaron shells still weren't perfectly smooth. I very lazily didn't pipe them either, but just used a teaspoon. Pierre Herme would not be impressed.
They cooked beautifully at 120 degrees C, for 15 minutes. They didn't brown at all, and did develop the macaron 'foot' as they rose.
I filled them with a white chocolate ganache (simply melted white chocolate with a spoonful of mascarpone stirred in to loosen it) and my home-made lemon curd. I put a ring of the ganache onto the shell, and then a blob of the curd in the centre. The tartness of the lemon curd is a lovely contrast with the sweetness of the chocolate.
As you can see, they don't look nearly as professional as Ben's macarons, they're distinctly lumpy and rather more rustic-looking (they're also about twice the size due to my inept teaspooning). However, when they're just for home consumption it's the taste that counts, and these taste great. A crispy outer encloses a chewy inner, and they just seem to get better, chewier, the longer you keep them in the fridge.
I know Ben will want to know this - yes, a few of the macaron shells were almost hollow, while others weren't. I wonder why this happens?
At least that's one holiday project successfully accomplished!