Everybody loves a delicious homemade surprise, so why not have a go at these colourful macarons filled with zesty lemon curd? Simply follow the recipe below from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen by Alison Walker (£20, Jacqui Small) and enjoy!
- 1 hour, plus resting
- 15 minutes
- 100g egg whites
- 100g ground almonds
- 180g icing sugar
- 40g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Yellow food colouring paste
- 85g good-quality shop-bought lemon curd
- The day before you make the macarons, separate the eggs and put the whites in a bowl in the fridge loosely covered.
- When you are ready to make the macarons, bring the egg whites to room temperature. Draw 4cm (1½in) circles at spaced intervals on two to three sheets of baking parchment as a template to guide your piping. Turn it over and use this parchment to line two to three baking sheets.
- Put the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and whizz until they become a fine powder. Sieve three times to remove any lumps of almond – this is essential to ensure a smooth surface to your macarons.
- Whisk the egg whites to a medium peak, then whisk in the caster sugar. Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and food colouring – be generous with the colouring paste as it fades during baking.
- Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the egg whites in two batches – it should be a fairly fluid mix but still be able to be piped.
- Dot blobs of this mixture on to the underside of each corner of parchment to keep it still during cooking. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle and pipe mounds of the mixture just within the circles. Tap each tray on the work surface a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and leave to stand for anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours (depending on humidity) until the surface of the macarons is no longer tacky – again this is crucial to ensure the macarons have their characteristic frilled feet.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C/310°F/gas mark 2½. Bake the macarons in a preheated oven for 10–15 minutes until they just peel away from the paper when tested. Remove from the oven and immediately slide the baking parchment with the macarons onto a damp work surface – this will stop them cooking further and also make them easier to remove.
- Sandwich two shells together with a blob of lemon curd. These macarons keep for up to a week in the fridge. The unfilled shells can be frozen for up to a month.