I first discovered the macaron in March 2008, when I went to to visit H, who was doing her year abroad in Paris. We went to all the usual places, and eventually ended up in Fauchon. H told me I should get the lemon macaron. I did. It was yummy. I've considered making them at home a few times, but every time I searched for a recipe I was put off by how many results I got saying that they were tricky.
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe. So now I couldn't put off macarons any longer.
My first attempt failed miserably. I overwhipped the batter and it was too runny to form any kind of shape. It was still tasty though.
The second attempt was a little better. I had some freeze dried raspberries after my mum found somewhere online that sold "home-sized" portions instead of wholesale. I crushed these up to make a powder, and mixed this in to the batter. It was a lovely creamy white with flecks of raspberry powder in it, and piped easily in to rounds. I dried the rounds in a low oven as suggested, and was pleased to see the beginnings of some feet on my macarons!
However, I found the 7 minutes cooking time suggested in the recipe to be too long, and my macarons went too brown. I sandwiched them with raspberry buttercream (also made with powdered raspberry). While these macarons had the chewiness of a proper macaron, they didn't have the smooth, crisp shell.
So on to the third attempt! This time I used lime zest, and a drop of green gel colouring. I sieved the almonds and sugar twice to make sure it was superfine (although I think if I had a food processor and could have ground the nuts even more it would have been better) and folded the mixture carefully. I watched the macarons like a hawk to ensure they didn't brown (although a couple at the back of the oven still did a little).
I sandwiched these with lemon curd, which gives them a good citrus hit. They taste ok, but they need a lot more work. However, the process was easy enough that I'll give macarons another go sometime soon.