Sweet Treats: Lemon Macarons

20160402_151730~2.jpg

Macarons have become my weekend treat. I enjoy making them and find it ever so satisfying to come up with new flavours and colour combinations. There really isn’t too much to it. Just ground almonds, sugar, eggs and of course food colouring.

I have been obsessed with perfecting my chocolate macarons. It takes a little bit of time to get the mixture right and also learn to use a right oven temperature. But this time I was tempted to make a colourful and fresh citrusy tasting ones. Lemon curd is a great filling as it contains butter, therefore it is really easy to pipe. Plus you will most probably have some leftover lemon curd that could be used for next time. If you don’t fancy making it, then shop bought one will be just fine.

My friend watched me the other day when I was banging the baking tray to get rid of the air from the macaron shells. She thought I was upset and that it didn’t work. However, she did laugh after I explained that it is super important to knock the air out so that the shells are not hollow. She probably think I am insane but then again she is too polite to say anything.

20160402_151449~2

Sweet Treats: Lemon Curd Macarons

For macaron shells
95 g egg white
75 g caster sugar
152 g icing sugar
123 g ground almonds
green food colouring (preferably gel)

For lemon curd
65 ml fresh lemon juice
65 g caster sugar
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
65 g unsalted cold butter, cut into small chunks
pinch of salt

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the caster sugar gradually while you are whisking the egg whites. This allows the macarons to develop their characteristic shine. Add a tiny bit of food colouring to the meringue. Sift flour and icing sugar in a separate bowl and add ground almonds. Slowly fold the flour mixture to the egg whites and be very careful not to over-mix.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe onto a baking sheet. Drop the baking tray on a flat surface to allow air bubbles to come out. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes until the surface of each macaron is no longer sticky when you touch with your finger. This allows the macaron to rise evenly when baking. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/mark 4.

Put into the oven for 10-13 minutes. Keep checking during the baking as you might need to rotate the tray to allow an even bake. Once baked, allow to cool down, and then transfer from the baking sheet. If macaron shells are too sticky, it means they need a bit longer in the oven. However, remember that the tray will be hot and will continue to cook the shells even after you take it out of the oven.

For the lemon curd, whisk eggs with sugar, then add lemon juice and place over the bain marie. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and continue to cook for further 5 minutes. The curd is ready when it coats the back of the spoon and you should be able to draw a path through it. Remove the curd from the heat and quickly whisk in the cold butter until it is completely dissolved and glossy. Transfer the curd into a clean bowl and allow to cool. Place the cling-film over the top of the curd to prevent the skin formation.

20160402_151007~2.jpg

Pipe lemon curd onto one macaron shell and then sandwich together. Macarons will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

160402_175436_COLLAGE-1

by Maria

Advertisements

Sweet Treats: Mango & Lemon Curd Cake

20160306_104834~3~2
This cake came about as an inspiration for Mother’s Day celebration. Not being British, I am used to celebrating this very special day later in the year. However, here in UK we remember our precious mums in the beginning of March. So, I wanted this cake to be very feminine, delicate, and full of wonderful surprises.

It all started with a mango I bought a couple of days ago, which had to wait patiently in my kitchen for a few days to ripe and become sweet and juicy. Once I figured out the filling with a tangy lemon curd, I realized I would also like to change the colours of each layer. And, of course, what colour would be better than soft pink and light purple? I thought it would make the perfect Mother’s day cake. Light and fresh, sweet, and a bit different…

20160306_105625~2~2

Mango and Lemon Curd Cake (serves 6-8)

4 medium eggs
225 g softened unsalted butter
220 g self raising flour
220 g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
pink and purple food colouring

For the butter-cream filling
175 g unsalted butter
370 g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
100 g lemon curd
one ripe mango, cut into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 180° C/150° C fan. Grease the tins with butter and dust with flour, or with greaseproof paper. For this cake I used 4 cake tins (each 4″, but 5″ would also work).

Whip the softened butter with sugar until pale, and then add eggs, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix until combined. The mixture should be light and easy to spread. Do not over-mix as that would stop sponges from rising.

Be careful when adding the food colouring. The best way is to use a tooth sticks. Add a tiny bit if pink food colouring and mix thoroughly. This layer could also be left white, if you prefer. Transfer a small amount into the first cake tin. Add more pink colouring and mix again. This layer should be light pink. Transfer the second cake mixture to the cake tin. Then, add even more pink colouring to create a very deep shade of pink. Fill the third cake tin. Finally, add purple food colouring to get a dark and rich purple cake mixture. Fill the last cake tin and putt all tins into the oven. Leave to bake for about 12-15 minutes. You might need to rotate your tins in the oven to allow even bake. Cake is baked once it starts to come way from the edges.

Release all baked sponges from tins and leave to cool on the side, preferably on a cooling rack if you have one. Once all sponges are at room temperature, trim each one so that they are all same height.

For the butter-cream filling, whip all of the softened butter with the icing sugar. You might want to add some milk to make the mixture lighter and easier to work with. Spread the lemon curd onto the bottom purple sponge and also onto the light pink sponge; spread a small amount of the butter-cream on the dark pink sponge.

20160305_163622~2

To assemble, place the purple sponge at the bottom, then dark pink sponge, followed by light pink sponge and finally the lightest sponge. Cover with some of the butter-cream and smooth the sides and edges. Leave in a fridge for about 20 minutes to harden. Add a small amount of pink food colouring to the leftover butter-cream and spread around the sponge but not on the top. Carefully smooth the sides of the cake and then the top of the cake.

20160306_104855~2~2~2

by Maria