Macarons are one of my favourite French treats. So delicate, but SO versatile flavour-wise. You can create so many different and wonderful creations; though you might be surprised to find out its generally only the fillings that change! The only time you might change the flavour of the shell is if you’re using pistachios instead of ground almonds perhaps.
Making macarons is definitely a finicky business, so keeping to the same shell recipe definitely makes sense in my eyes! You can obviously change the food colouring though, which keeps the macarons looking interesting and in keeping with the flavour of filling.
There are various methods of making macarons, and while the method I’m sharing today works great for me. It might not actually be the best method for yourself. Eagle eyed readers might notice I already have a Macaron recipe on the blog, and a raspberry one at that! I posted this in 2015 and back then I was using the French method. Nowadays I prefer the Italian as I find it gives me much more consistent results and its not as much faff!
Many things can affect your macarons – the humidity or rain that day…or even the altitude where you live! That’s why I’m not going to promise that my method below will give you perfect results. Give a few recipes a try and figure out what works best for you – but definitely include mine in that test 😉
For the Italian method we need to heat the sugar syrup before adding it to whipped egg whites. This gives us a really stable meringue to work with, and I think really helps to create a smooth shell. Adding the meringue to the paste (ground almonds, icing sugar & egg whites) is where theres the most room for error. You need to add it in three stages, with the first being fairly vigorous to avoid any lumps. Probably more vigorous than you realise, as the paste will be very thick and stiff at this point.
The second addition of meringue however needs to be very gentle! Make sure you are getting to the bottom of the bowl to incorporate it all, but keep the motion very slow and delicate. The final addition has to be super super super gentle. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work at this stage, so just take your time.
Now with this method I don’t find you need any ‘resting’ time. This is where people rest their piped shells on the baking tray for anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, to form a skin. On the contrary I want these baked as soon as possible. So pipe your first tray and get them in the oven straight away. Then once that’s nearly baked, pipe the next tray ready to swap.
For the fillings, the lemon buttercream is super simple. Just basic butter and icing sugar, but with the addition of lemon curd and some milk to loosen. I also used store-bought jam, though of course if you’re feeling super fancy you could use homemade!
As I said before, macarons are tricky and a method that works for one person might not work for another. But I’ve always had really good results with this, so I really hope it works for some of you too!
Raspberry Lemon Macarons
- 275 g caster sugar
- 100 ml water
- 95 g egg whites approx. 3 large eggs
- 275 g ground almonds
- 275 g icing sugar
- 95 g egg whites approx. 3 large eggs
- Pink food colouring gel or powder
- 100 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 200 g icing sugar
- 80 g lemon curd
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 100 g raspberry jam
- Edible gold dust
- Firstly, preheat the oven to 145C/120C Fan.
- For the meringue: Mix together the caster sugar and water, then bring to the boil over a high heat. In a separate bowl, fitted to a stand mixer, add the 95g egg whites.
- Using a sugar thermometer check the temperature of the sugar syrup. Once this has reached 114C, start whisking the egg whites on a medium speed until they’ve reached soft peaks. Once the sugar syrup has reached 120C (and the egg whites are at soft peaks), take off the heat and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl being careful not to splash yourself. Then whisk on full speed for 5 minutes, until the meringue is glossy and thick, and the bowl is lukewarm to touch. Set aside.
- For the paste: Blend together the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor until fine. Then sieve into a large bowl and discard any chunks. Add the 95g egg whites and combine thoroughly. Then add your food colouring in – noting that the colour will get lighter once you add the meringue.
- Then add the meringue in three stages:1st stage – fold one third in vigorously to avoid any lumps.2nd stage – fold the second third in very gently.3rd stage – fold the final third in extremely gently. Then add the mixture to a piping bag and snip off the end to create a 1cm wide hole.
- Pipe small blobs onto each corner of your baking tray, then add baking paper on top, using the macaron mixture to ‘stick’ the baking paper down. Pipe circles roughly 3-4cm wide with a 2cm gap between each. Then heavily drop the baking tray 3 times onto your work surface to remove any air bubbles and bake immediately for 19 minutes. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes, before sliding the baking paper onto a cooling rack.
- Once the shells are almost finished baking, pipe your next tray ready to put into the oven. Continue this process until all the mixture is used. Macaron shells can be frozen at this point, and filled at a later date.
- For the buttercream: Beat together the butter and icing sugar, using an electric whisk, slowly until combined. Then mix on a high speed until smooth. Add the lemon curd and mix again to combine. Finally, add the milk in stages until it is a smooth consistency – you may not need all the milk. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Then place the jam into another piping bag and snip off the end to make a small hole.
- To fill: Pipe around the edge of a macaron shell with the buttercream, then fill the hole with jam and sandwich with another macaron shell. Repeat this process until all the shells are used.
- To decorate: Mix a splash of water with some edible gold dust in a small bowl, and using a paint brush fleck over the tops of the macarons.