Macarons with Lemon Curd Filling
Woot! Woot!  We did it! And I would like to give an Academy Award speech right now because I feel like I just won one in baking!  The third recipe was a charm and it just took a little adjustment of temperature and time to get it spot on. I think many different recipes may be successful but recipes that are heavy in meringue like Bravetarts really require perfect and perfectly consistent macaronnage and I just couldn’t manage that.  Recipes that are heavy in almond flour like that of Les Petits Macarons are very full on the inside and require quite a bit of tweaking with oven temp and time and after a while I kind of got frustrated. But this recipe works very nicely for me.  I’m not sure the dried egg whites are absolutely necessary but I bought the stuff and its working out so I’m not going to mess with it now.
200 mg powdered sugar
120 mg almond flour
pinch of salt
   100 g egg whites
  50 granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon dried egg whites
1. I start with Trader Joe’s almond meal and then sift before I weigh.  I repurpose about 10% of the almond meal that doesn’t go through the sieve.  I then grind the AF with the PS and salt in the food processor for 4 second pulses about 8-10 times.  I then sift through a fine mesh tamis (I use two different sieves just because one is finer than the other).  Anything that doesn’t go through that goes back in the food processor for a few more pulses and sift again through the tamis.  Anything that doesn’t go through that goes through the sieve one last time and anything left then is repurposed.
Almond Flour and Powdered sugar after grinding and sifting.  I sift through a very fine tamis first and then sift the last bit through a fine sieve so there’s only a tablespoon or two of slightly coarser almond flour/PS mix.  Anything left in the sieve after that is repurposed.
2.  I use real egg whites not liquid although I’ve used both and the difference is not huge. The real egg whites are easier/more reliable for getting a stiff meringue.  I have left them out at room temp for one day and left them out for a few hours and have not found a difference as long as they are at room temp. I have also microwaved cold egg whites for 5-10 seconds and that has worked just as well.
3.  I hand whisk the egg whites with the dried egg whites until the dried egg whites are dissolved and then run the stand mixer at “6” for about 2 minutes until it is frothy like a bubble bath.  I then add all the sugar at once and beat again at “6” for about 4-6 minutes until I get a stiff, glossy meringue.  If you tip the bowl upside down it will not move and you should get a “bec d’oiseau” or bird’s beak on the whisk when you pull it up.  It is basically a needle that just tips over at the very end.
Meringue whipped to stiff peaks
Glossy and stiff meringue
4.  I dump in all the dry ingredients at once.  I make “J” folds to fold the batter and mash it against the sides of the bowl at the same time.  Don’t be gentle with the mashing — you need to get the air out of the batter.  There are many great videos on the internet about how to macaronnage properly so I will direct you to those because I have not been able to get good pictures. Here’s a good one: Beth’s Foolproof Macarons.
I now add my flavoring and/or gel paste color toward the end of macaronnage because it gives me the best color. I found that whipping it in during the meringue stage faded my color significantly.

The best advice I can give you for macaronnage is to drip a little on a plate when you think you’re almost done folding and count how many seconds it takes for the peak to settle in to the rest of the mass. If it’s 10 seconds you’re done.  If it’s longer then fold a couple more times and test again.

5.  I use a template to pipe them out onto silicone mats.  This recipe yields about 60 macarons depending on the size.  I needed 3 trays so I piped one tray at a time while the remaining batter stayed in the bag with a clip on it to keep it from drying out.
6.  Once I pipe out the first tray I set the oven to convection 300F.  (Convection is totally necessary for my oven).  I let them dry on the bench until I can poke a finger in one of them and leave a small dent (about 20 minutes, sometimes an hour).
7.  I have an oven with a top heating element and used to brown my macarons until I put a tray on the very top rack to block he heating element.  I put the macarons on the middle rack and bake for 16-18 minutes or until I can just barely peel one off the mat.  I rotate once in the middle.  My oven gets hotter with time so I keep the oven open for a few minutes between trays to cool it down a little.
8.  After 3-4 minutes I move the silicone mat to a cooling rack and cool completely. I peel back the mat (not the macaron) to get the macarons off once cooled.  I’ve made this recipe twice and all 6 trays were completely crack free, possessing feet and even shaped.  That has not happened before in all 40+ batches (goodness, I hate to admit my “number”) I have made since June of this year. The only variation I had to make was temperature and time to get nice insides.
I like silicone mats for the uniform shapes they produce and slightly frilly skirts.
Not a single crack in 3 trays

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