This post comes with a warning: macaron is one of the most delicate and difficult pastries to make successfully. Well, in my humble opinion anyway! There’s a whole lot of precision and patience required and practice definitely makes perfect, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed on the first try. After too many failed batches to count, I think I’ve a good grasp of this: what works, what doesn’t, what’s important, and what’s not. If anything, this post is meant to inspire you to try and try again!
The best macarons I’ve had were from Laduree, Dalloyau, and most recently, Pierre Herme (which my sister kindly sent some back from Paris – thanks Carol!) They have a wonderful crisp shell with chewy center, authentic flavors, and are very pretty to look at!
I took a macaron making class at Sur La Table few years ago, and I found that their recipe is pretty fail proof. The macarons have puffed up appropriately (and not too much),have “feet”, and the texture is chewy with a crisp exterior. Just the way it should be!
There are many factors that may affect the end result (ie: climate, ingredients, oven temperature). If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
This is a macaron template you can print out and slide under the parchment paper to use as a guide for piping the rounds.
- For the macarons:
- 3.2 oz egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
- 2.8 oz granulated sugar
- 5.6 oz confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3.2 oz almond meal, sifted
- Yellow food coloring
- For the lemon curd filling:
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp lemon zest
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- To make the macarons:
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites until they begin to foam, about 1 minute. Slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites while the mixer is set on medium speed. Continue to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed. The egg whites should be thick and glossy (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out).
- Add the sifted almond meal, confectioners’ sugar, and food coloring to the whipped egg whites. Using a spatula, fold the mixture into the egg whites until it has the consistency of molten lava. To test, scoop up a spoonful of batter with a spatula and drop it back into the mix; it should flatten and disappear into the batter in about 15 seconds or so. If it doesn’t, continue folding the mixture. It should take about 50-60 strokes for the batter to reach the right consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with large round tip, and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a template underneath. Start The rounds should be no larger than 2 inch in diameter with at least ½ inch of space between.
- Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air, then let the macarons dry for 30 minutes until a skin is formed on the surface.
- Place the macarons in a 350F oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until the shells harden.
- Let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheets.
- To make the filling:
- In the top of a double boiler filled with 2 inches of simmering water, combine the egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and zest. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain the curd into a heatproof bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until chilled.
- To assemble, match the macaron shells in pairs. Pipe a small round of lemon curd (about half a teaspoon) on the flat side of a macaron shell and sandwich together with a matching macaron shell. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
*I leave the egg whites on the counter for three days, cover with plastic wrap, leaving some space for the moisture to escape.