It turns out that after I refrigerated the lemon macarons for a few days, they softened up and developed the right texture – which means that they were much closer to being proper macarons than I had realized. And with that …
Chocolate and lemon go together, especially when you still have lemon ganache left over. And if they didn’t, I’d try it anyway, since I don’t want to throw away the lemon ganache. (My blog, my rules.) I am going to try a chocolate macaron recipe from CHOW.com, substituting a lemon ganache filling for chocolate.
Assembling the ingredients is second nature by now, but I still have to ask myself, “How long should it take to get the meringue to the right consistency?” Step 3 of the recipe reads
Make a meringue by placing the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until opaque and foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the egg whites are white in color and hold the line of the whisk, about 1 minute. Continue to beat, slowly adding the granulated sugar, until the sugar is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute more. (Do not overwhip.) Transfer the meringue to a large bowl.
Doing some generous addition, that adds up to 3 minutes. Perhaps it takes only 3 minutes if you have a nice Mixmaster, but with my hand-held Hamilton-Beach mixer, it took me 13 minutes. Managing the hand mixer in one hand while taking pictures with the other in order to document all this is not easy, by the way. I’m glad I quit sketching.
Onward to mixing the dry ingredients in. Using the video from my last attempt, I beat the mixture down until it flowed properly, remembering from a previous, undocumented chocolate macaron failure that the cocoa makes the batter more stiff than regular batter, so it would require some extra work. Once I started piping, everything went smoothly – in fact, the circles began to spread out even before I rapped the trays on the counter to release the air bubbles, which made me realize that this was a good sign, or a really bad one. Anyone want to guess which it was?
When they came out of the oven, they had lovely frilly feet, but they were a little flat, and they had spread out so much that they were touching one another. If you guessed “a good sign,” you were wrong.
|Did I mention that I under-baked half the shells?|
It turns out that I over-beat the mixture, resulting in a too-runny batter. The decision, once again, goes to the meringue.