When I first came upon this recipe in Stylist, a magazine which simultaneously embodies all that I love and hate about London, they jumped to the top of my to-do list. That was quite a while ago now. It never seemed the right time, as they are a two day process. Although not exactly a silver lining moment in a horrible national tragedy, being confined to my house for two days during the London riots afforded the opportunity to give them a go. My area fortunately escaped relatively unscathed from the riots, with the only notable incident reported in our local paper being the raiding of a local cafe by 40 hooded youths who stole biscuits. So this could be seen as a self defense tactic.
These are not so much difficult as they are a bit fiddly and time consuming. They turned out beautifully luscious, despite the fact that my ‘oven’ is in reality a giant metal box with a grill at the top.
Ingredients (makes 30-50 depending on size)
- 160g caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 3 eggs
- 110ml lemon juice
- 235g softened butter
- 275g ground almonds
- 250g icing sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 210g caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons yellow food colouring
- To make the lemon cream, mix the sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, eggs and lemon juice together in a saucepan and heat until it simmers.
- If it looks disgusting, you are on the right track, I was sure mine had somehow curdled.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
- Blend in the butter.
- Refrigerate for 12 hours in an airtight container (I actually refrigerated mine for 24, but it seemed fine, it just needed a bit of time to soften up).
- For the macaroon shells, mix the almond flour and icing sugar.
- Whisk six egg whites until they foam then add a third of the granulated sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add another third, whisk then add the remaining sugar and whisk for one more minute. Fold the sifted almond flour and icing sugar into the egg whites. Add the food colouring.
- If you want particularly professional looking macaroons, you can pipe the mixture onto a baking sheet covered in parchment, if not, just use a teaspoon. They do spread quite a bit, so keep this in mind.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes at 140.
- Allow to cool slightly before peeling off (the original recipe recommended pouring a tiny amount of water down to loosen, I didn’t, and nothing catastrophic happened).
- When all the shells are cooked and cooled, spread small amounts of the cream on each one. The cream is quite lemony and strong, and I find a small amount goes a long way.