Attempt no. 11 – the lemon macaron with lemon-vanilla buttercream

Today's challenger

Today’s challenger

This week’s attempt comes from the Blahnik Baker website. A nice, simple recipe on a webpage whose macaron photographs make mine look like they were taken in a munitions dump.  How hard can this be?

There’s not much to say about the assembly, except that when making the filling, if you use a hand mixer to blend the sugar and the butter, make sure you use a deep bowl or the mixer will fling the ingredients all over the kitchen.

Or so I’ve heard.

I’m feeling confident, however, because, this time, I have my secret weapon:

Smackie says, "Use a flash next time, dammit!"

Smackie says, “Use a flash next time, dammit!”

The new KitchenAid Artisan mixer. These come in all sorts of bright colors, but I picked a simple “Pearl Matte” – also known as “Meringue.” I figured that I should take all the help I can get.

Even after pounding the trays to get the air out of the shells, the tails remain visible.

Even after pounding the trays to get the air out of the shells, the tails remain visible.

I mix everything as well as I know how, but as soon as I start piping, I see that something’s wrong: the batter is flowing out very thick.  In cases like this, the solution is to scrape all the batter back into the bag and pipe it again, to soften it up,” so naturally, being me, I don’t. Instead, they go into the oven as they are.

The meringues are supposed to bake for 16-20 minutes, but when I check them for doneness, the tops of the shells peel off, leaving the uncooked bottoms stuck to the SilPat. I put them back in for 2 minutes, and they’re still undercooked, as they are after another 2 minutes, another minute, and another minute after that. Finally, I realize that these are going to be a disaster, so I might as well take them out before they go from under-baked glop balls to over-baked sugar chips. I do, and …

Miracles occur.

Miracles occur.

… they peel off the SilPat with ease. No separating, no cracking, barely a trace of meringue left on the sheet. I am able to use every single shell. Granted, they are oddly thick and have a bumpy finish, and when I tap them they sound hollow. But apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, they are perfect.

I fill them with the lemon-vanilla buttercream and toss them in the fridge overnight to soften them up.  In the morning, I bite into one, and there is the by now too-familiar crunch of a shell full of air.

No, they don't.

No, they don’t.

The victory goes, once again, to the meringue.


About cohn17

Photographer and baker of macarons.
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