Okay, so I actually made them on Sunday but am writing about them for Monday…Macarons!
Interesting thing is, usually my favourites to make are made with Rose Syrup. However, my friend Mary has given me some Kaffir Lime leaves and limes so I had to use them. I love the smell of Kaffir Limes and once you infuse it into the creamy center for macarons…YUM!
So here’s how it went.
Finished Kaffir Lime Macarons
They actually taste far better than they look!
Magic Macaron Ingredients
More Macaron Ingredients
Tant por Tant
I like to get myself organized when making Macarons. Which means the egg whites need to be aged. Usually eggs bought from the store are aged enough but if you use fresh eggs, I like to separate the whites into a bowl and let them sit covered on the counter-top for 24-48 hours. This really gets the albumin in the egg white to get more firm and creates a lighter meringue. Other keys to prep would be using silicon backing mats or silicon backing sheets. Sarah gave me some lovely ones that are marked for piping but I still tend to use the plain mats. You’ll also want a small pinch of Cream of Tartar added to your egg whites to make them nice a white. Even if you are adding colour it just helps you get a more true colour.
Prepping the Kaffir Lime for Infusion
Thick Cream and Kaffir Lime
Infused Cream and Cream Cheese
The tiny Kaffir Limes are extremely fragrant and it is best to do this step the day before to get the most intense flavour from them. I have had equal success using this method with the leaves after bruising them and leaving them in the cream overnight before a gentle rise in temperature.
I finely grated the Kaffir Lime into a sauce-pan. Once I had as much zest as I could get from the tiny limes I just threw the limes in too! Then I poured in some double thick cream and brought it to a low and slow temperature rise. Once the whole house smelled of lime and the mixture had turned a bit yellow I removed it from the flame. I left it to set while I was actually making the almond meringues. This allowed it to cool a bit before I strained out the lime chunks and broke up a block of cream cheese into the mix. Then I used a mixer to whip it all together. This was set aside until after the baking was done and cooled.
Tinted Meringue with Dry food Coloring
Starting the Meringue
Mixing the Tant por Tant and Meringue
Tant por Tant
Tant por Tant is simply half almond meal and half icing sugar. I put it in the Thermo-Mix to make sure it is well blended and extremely fine. If I start from whole almonds, I have to make that well ahead and then allow it dry out a little because otherwise the oil from the nut makes it too pasty.
As I mentioned, be sure to put a pinch of Cream of Tartar into the egg white to get a really white and glossy finish. Before adding the first of the caster sugar to the egg make sure you have gotten it to a nice foamy consistency. I add the caster sugar in three sections just to make sure it gets well blended into the meringue.
Because liquid is an enemy of meringue, I use dry/powder food colouring. It’s getting a little easier to find but the colours are limited unless you go to a specialty store.
Once the meringue forms nice firm peaks you can begin to mix in the tant por tant. Again I do this in three parts so I don’t end up with clumps. Then it is important to macronize/mix well without over-mixing. If the meringue/dough is too firm you want to get that lovely smooth outer shell it will hold too much shape. However, if you over mix, you lose the air in the meringue and your cookie/biscuit is too flat. (Mine ended up slightly over-mixed).
Place your silicon mats onto baking trays, then pipe the mixture onto the silicon mats, remembering to leave a little room between each one because they will spread a little while waiting to go into the oven. Try to be as consistent with the sizing as possible.
Size Matched and filling piped on
out of the oven
Finished Kaffir Lime Macarons
To get that nice crunchy finish it is important to let the macaron mixture that you have piped out, sit for 20 minutes before putting them into the oven.
I set my oven for 160 C and usually bake for about 12 minutes. You can test to see if they are done by gently touching one of the macarons. If you can move it with your finger tip it needs to bake longer. When there is no give to a the tiniest of pressure they are ready to come out and cool.
We have stone counter-tops so I slide the silicon mats off the baking sheets to allow the macarons to cool quicker. Once they have cooled they are easy to remove from the silicon mat. As I am removing them I match them size wise into sets…mine are never all exactly the same size but I am getting better. I used to have a sheet of baking paper underneath marked with circles for the piping but as I have gotten a bit better I have stopped using it.
The Kaffir Lime mixture gets piped onto the middle of one of the two halves and then you gently rotate the other half on to make sure you get a perfectly filled and even center.
I find that if I stick them in the fridge and keep them cool that they hold up better in the warmer months.
Sometimes I add cocoa powder and chilli flakes into the Tant por Tant and do a ganache filling, or occasionally I do a jam middle of Feijoa if the tree has bloomed.
Be creative and enjoy is my motto with macarons.
Now I didn’t give you a recipe because there are three styles of making macarons, French, Italian and Spanish. They all have their slight variances. Plus there are a million recipes online. I really just wanted to make sure you knew some of the helpful hints I learned because many of them are NOT on the internet!
That’s it for Monday Macarons!