Blueberry and Lime Macarons

blueberry and lime Macarons

Blueberry and Lime Macarons

I took up the reigns again this week to try to master this most bothersome of bakes. Over the past couple of years I have tried, mostly rather unsuccessfully to make French macarons.

Every so often I become inspired, bake a few disastrous batches, then swear never to make them again.

This time it was going to be different. I was going to take a more investigative approach, try to understand the processes and understand where I was going wrong.

I failed the first couple of batches, my batter was just too wet. I think I had over beaten it.

Also, I read that ‘ageing’ the egg whites can help, I hadn’t done that.

I usually bake on a whim and ageing egg whites requires far too much pre-thought so I cheated and microwaved the whites for a few seconds to warm them through a bit.

Worked a charm!

Blueberry and Lime Macarons | Vagabond Baking

Anna Olson recommends using meringue powder when beating the whites, so I added it {I happened to have some sachets of it from decorating cookies with royal icing} . She also says only to whip them to soft peaks but the mixture was just too thin so I ended up beating them to just-stiff peaks.

I felt I was over-mixing by adding the colour at the end so I switched to adding it after whipping the egg whites, letting the colour mix in as I folded in the almonds and icing sugar. This seemed to work much better too. Other than these changes, I never altered my measured ingredients.

There is a bit of a trick to getting the batter to the right consistency. Once the dry ingredients have been gently folded into the batter, the batter needs then to be very gently ‘mashed’ or pressed up the sides of the mixing bowl with the spatula to lessen the volume. This is apparently termed as ‘macaronage‘. Oo la la!

You do this until the batter begins to leave a trail that almost melts back into the rest of the batter when the spatula is lifted out, but no more. Mix it any further and it won’t hold its shape at all.

Blueberry Macarons

Suffice to say I ended up with rather a lot of egg yolks to use up after all this experimenting, I made creme patissiere {there is no more perfect way of using up egg yolks!} and a jar of blueberry and lime curd.

The curd ended up being the filling to these babies. I’m a little addicted to making curds at the moment, this one is just a slight variation to the blueberry curd that filled the madeleines.

Blueberry and Lime Macarons | Vagabond Baking

Plain Macarons, coloured purple

makes around 28 depending on the size

two baking sheets lined with parchment

Begin by weighing out the ground almonds, weigh it out after you have sifted it to remove any larger grains. Now combine it with the icing sugar and whizz it up in a food processor, or in my case a mini chopper in batches, to get it as finely ground as you can. Set to one side.

*Cheat* To ‘age’ the egg whites, place them in a bowl and microwave them for 20 seconds on medium power. Now put them into a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and add the meringue powder. Use an electric beater to whisk them to frothy peaks. Once the egg whites look good and voluminous add the granulated sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each. The egg whites should now start to look glossy and smooth. Continue whisking to stiff peak stage but no more.

Now ditch the electric mixer and switch to a spatula. Add the almond extract and a colourful blob of the food colouring gel. Be brave, the colour softens during the baking process. Give it a one or two stirs to begin to work the colour in then sift over half the icing sugar/almond mixture. Use the spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients in. As you do this the colour will continue to spread into the batter.

Sift in the rest of the icing sugar/almond mixture and continue carefully folding it in. As soon as no dry ingredients are visible change your technique. Now gently press the batter up the side of the bowl to reduce the volume. The batter will begin to look smoother.

To test if the batter is the correct consistency, lift the spatula up and watch to see how the trail of batter running off it falls onto the batter in the bowl. It should leave a soft trail that takes five or six seconds to ‘melt’ back into the batter. If it just sits on top, it’s not ready yet. If you overdo this process, the batter can become too thin. The macarons need to be able to hold their shape when you pipe them out.

Fit a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill with the macaron batter. Put a dab of the batter on the corner of each baking sheet to ‘glue’ down the parchment to make piping out easier. Pipe 3 cm wide blobs of the batter on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little space between each. I piped mine free-hand but you could use a template to make them more precise.

Now drop the baking sheets sharply onto the work surface a few times to knock out any air bubbles and to level them, they should settle into fairly smooth discs. Leave the macarons to form a skin for anything up to a couple of hours, it depends on the temperature and humidity of the room.

Set the oven to 140 C / gas 1 / 280 F

When the macarons have formed a skin you will be able to gently touch them and they will not be sticky at all. Pop them into the preheated oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes the macarons should have risen and have their characteristic ‘feet’ or frill. Switch the baking sheets over, to ensure an even bake, then continue cooking them for a further 8 to 10 minutes.

Blueberry Macarons

Keep your eye on them, if any of them start to catch turn the heat down a little. To test if they are ready, they should be firm on their frilly bases, i.e. no movement. If they appear sturdy try lifting one. When they are ready they should lift off the parchment and have a smooth base. Try a few to, depending on the oven, some will cook quicker than others.

Blueberry Macarons

When they are cooked remove them from the oven and slide the parchment off the baking sheet and onto the work surface to let them cool. They will cool really quickly.

blitz them then add the lime juice

Blueberry and Lime Curd

makes one jar

  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 60 g {1/2 stick } unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 100 g {scant 1/2 cup } caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs, or 2 yolks and 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 limes, zest and juice

Place the blueberries in a jug or mug with a half teaspoon of water and microwave them for about a minute on high until they are burst and bubbling.

Use a hand mixer to blitz the cooked blueberries to a fine liquid then stir in the lime juice to cool it. Set aside.

Start to melt the butter in a bowl set over a barely simmering pan of shallow water. Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Once it begins to melt, stir in the caster sugar and continue to cook over a low heat until the sugar melts into the butter and looses its grainy appearance.

Stir in the blueberry/lime juice mixture, this will cool the butter and sugar down. Now add the beaten eggs and the lime zest and beat them in. Continue gently cooking the curd for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly until the curd thickens.

Pass the curd though a sieve to remove and lumps and zest and pour into a hot, clean jar. Put the lid on and allow to cool completely.

Spend a minute or so pairing up the cooled macarons, finding ones of similar sizes. Spoon a dollop of the cooled curd onto one of the macaron shells then cover it with its pair.

When you have filled all the macarons, leave them in a sealed container for a while, ideally overnight. This is when the magic happens. The filling soaks into the macaron creating an incredibly moist, super-tasty flavour bomb.

Blueberry and Lime Macarons | Vagabond Baking

I’d love to know how you get on if you have a go of making them. Post pictures onto my Facebook page or Twitter! Rise to the macaron challenge!

Blueberry and Lime Macarons
Macarons filled with a burst of blueberry and lime curd.
Print
For the macarons
  1. 3 free-range egg whites weighing 100 g in total
  2. 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  3. 110 g ground almonds
  4. 175 g icing sugar
  5. 1 tbsp meringue powder/egg white powder
  6. 1/8 tsp almond essence {optional but adds a bit more flavour}
  7. violet/purple gel food colouring
For the blueberry and lime curd
  1. 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  2. 60 g {1/2 stick } unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  3. 100 g {scant 1/2 cup } caster sugar
  4. 2 free-range eggs, or 2 yolks and 1 egg, beaten
  5. 2 limes, zest and juice
Instructions
  1. Makes around 28, line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
To make the macarons
  1. Begin by weighing out the ground almonds, weigh it out after you have sifted it to remove any larger grains. Now combine it with the icing sugar and whizz it up in a food processor, or in my case a mini chopper in batches, to get it as finely ground as you can. Set to one side.
  2. *Cheat* To ‘age’ the egg whites, place them in a bowl and microwave them for 20 seconds on medium power. Now put them into a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and add the meringue powder. Use an electric beater to whisk them to frothy peaks. Once the egg whites look good and voluminous add the granulated sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each. The egg whites should now start to look glossy and smooth. Continue whisking to stiff peak stage but no more.
  3. Now ditch the electric mixer and switch to a spatula. Add the almond extract and a colourful blob of the food colouring gel. Be brave, the colour softens during the baking process. Give it a one or two stirs to begin to work the colour in then sift over half the icing sugar/almond mixture. Use the spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients in. As you do this the colour will continue to spread into the batter.
  4. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar/almond mixture and continue carefully folding it in. As soon as no dry ingredients are visible change your technique. Now gently press the batter up the side of the bowl to reduce the volume. The batter will begin to look smoother.
  5. To test if the batter is the correct consistency, lift the spatula up and watch to see how the trail of batter running off it falls onto the batter in the bowl. It should leave a soft trail that takes five or six seconds to ‘melt’ back into the batter. If it just sits on top, it’s not ready yet. If you overdo this process, the batter can become too thin. The macarons need to be able to hold their shape when you pipe them out.
  6. Fit a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill with the macaron batter. Put a dab of the batter on the corner of each baking sheet to ‘glue’ down the parchment to make piping out easier. Pipe 3 cm wide blobs of the batter on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little space between each. I piped mine free-hand but you could use a template to make them more precise.
  7. Now drop the baking sheets sharply onto the work surface a few times to knock out any air bubbles and to level them, they should settle into fairly smooth discs. Leave the macarons to form a skin for anything up to a couple of hours, it depends on the temperature and humidity of the room.
  8. Set the oven to 140 C / gas 1 / 280 F
  9. When the macarons have formed a skin you will be able to gently touch them and they will not be sticky at all. Pop them into the preheated oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes the macarons should have risen and have their characteristic ‘feet’ or frill. Switch the baking sheets over, to ensure an even bake, then continue cooking them for a further 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Keep your eye on them, if any of them start to catch turn the heat down a little. To test if they are ready, they should be firm on their frilly bases, i.e. no movement. If they appear sturdy try lifting one. When they are ready they should lift off the parchment and have a smooth base. Try a few to, depending on the oven, some will cook quicker than others. Remove from the oven.
To make the curd filling
  1. Place the blueberries in a jug or mug with a half teaspoon of water and microwave them for about a minute on high until they are burst and bubbling.
  2. Use a hand mixer to blitz the cooked blueberries to a fine liquid then stir in the lime juice to cool it. Set aside.
  3. Start to melt the butter in a bowl set over a barely simmering pan of shallow water. Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Once it begins to melt, stir in the caster sugar and continue to cook over a low heat until the sugar melts into the butter and looses its grainy appearance.
  4. Stir in the blueberry/lime juice mixture, this will cool the butter and sugar down. Now add the beaten eggs and the lime zest and beat them in. Continue gently cooking the curd for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly until the curd thickens.
  5. Pass the curd though a sieve to remove and lumps and zest and pour into a hot, clean jar. Put the lid on and allow to cool completely.
  6. Spend a minute or so pairing up the cooled macarons, finding ones of similar sizes. Spoon a dollop of the cooled curd onto one of the macaron shells then cover it with its pair.
Notes
  1. 'Ageing' the egg whites can help with the successful baking of macarons, this either means separating the eggs and leaving the whites in the fridge for a day or two, or you can give them a quick blast in the microwave to speed cheat this.
Vagabond Baker http://vagabondbaker.com/
Blueberry and Lime Macarons | Vagabond Baking

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Blueberry and Lime Macarons: how I mastered macarons with a few tips and cheats. Filled with a quick, home made, blueberry and lime curd so they burst with flavour.

By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

44 Responses

  1. You’ve made me want to brave macarons again!! These look so good :)

  2. Corissa says:

    When I think of a jar with a lid I think canning jar lids. Can I just cover it with plastic wrap?

  3. Baking Lover says:

    Looks superb. I am going to attempt making these on the weekend. Can you tell me whether it is 140C in a fan forced oven? And do you bake these in the middle rack of the oven? Thank you.

    • Yes, it was a fan oven, a dodgy one at that! {getting old and has a terrible hot-spot at the back!} I used an oven thermometer to confirm the temp. If you think they are beginning to brown, turn it down a little. I think I baked them in the middle rack of the oven.
      Good luck, they are a bit of a challenge. I really hope they work out for you! Take it slowly and be precise!

  4. lexieloulou says:

    these are so pretty!

  5. The trials and tribulations were certainly worth it. These look amazing. I was also thinking of making a raspberry curd. I’ll steal your recipe and substitute blueberries and limes for raspberries and lemon.

    • yum, that should work deliciously. I made raspberry and rose curd the other day with freeze dried ground raspberries. Worked well, fresh rasps should be even better though. I’ll wait till they’re in season.

  6. chef mimi says:

    Could you please make these for my birthday next week? They are my favorite color!

  7. plumful says:

    These are beautiful! I’m also really interested in trying your curd recipe, I’d never thought to add anything beyond a citrus fruit before! Thank you!

  8. Such brilliant colours! love the idea of blueberry and lime curd! I would love to try some of these! They look delicious!

  9. juliasalbum says:

    Absolutely gorgeous color! Pinning!

  10. bakearama says:

    Microwaving the egg whites! Macaronage! Curd! I love this!!

  11. mmmarzipan says:

    Oh my word! I LOVE these!!! They look perfect! And the curd sounds divine :)

  12. I love macarons. Yours are perfect! The blueberry lime curd sounds even better!

  13. These look fab – I tried to make them for my Parisian afternoon tea but the mixture was too runny and then I overcooked them – disaster! Will try again though now!

    • yes, mine were often too runny. I’ve figured that out now. If they’re too wet they have to cook longer and then become overcooked. Keep trying, they can me mastered!

  14. CateyLou says:

    wow, these are gorgeous! I am so impressed!! I have been kind of scared to try macarons. Thanks for the instructions, you make it sound so easy!!

    • Thank you. They really are one of those bakes where you need a bit of practice and instinct. It may take a few batches to learn what works best for your oven etc. Let me know how you get on :)

  15. spymasterpro says:

    ummmmmmmm Yummy . Can you pass me :)

  16. These are just the most gorgeous looking macarons! I love the sound of your blueberry and lime curd as well!

  17. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with your macarons! I made them once and needed a long break because the are so much work. Yours look perfect!!! Nicely done! I am impressed that you have heard of our Canadian celebrity chef Anna Olson!

    • Yay, Yes Anna appeared on our satellite food networks recently. I like her format, she has some good tips and makes it all look so effortless!
      I’ve taken long breaks between macaron bakes before, mainly due to the will-they-won’t-they-work thing. Now I know what I’m doing, I have much more confidence xxx

  18. Fay Vincent says:

    Those look amazing!

  1. May 10, 2013

    […] bright blueberry and lime macarons by the lovely Vagabond Baker […]

  2. August 8, 2013

    […] dainty Blueberry and Lime Macarons pack an unexpected flavor punch! (via Vagabond […]

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