Limoncello Macarons

I prefer making macarons to eating them.

There.  I’ve said it.  I generally find them too sweet for my taste.  I hear gasps of horror and disbelief.  Believe it.  It’s almost considered sacrilege to admit something like that, isn’t it??  I’m a brave soul so I’ll stand my ground.  I do find the process of making them to be very therapeutic, a form of meditation, if you will.  OK, melting and tempering chocolate is my number one on the therapeutic scale and kneading bread dough is also really good (especially when de-stressing!).  I’m not sure what it is.  Perhaps it’s all that meringue action … and you know I love making meringue.  Maybe it’s all that rhythmic folding of the macaronage. 

Scrape. Turn. Flip.  Faster pussycat ...

Whatever it is, it’s very soothing.  Recently, I had a rather harrowing experience with my oven that resulted in some peculiar looking macarons which admittedly detracted from the whole meditation idea.  I was calm until I put each tray into the oven.  At that point, I was breaking out into a cold sweat.  Drove me nuts.  But since the oven has been sorted … all’s well and back to normal.  Now, I am a bit of a perfectionist.  *cough, cough*   But I don’t need them to be perfect every time.  Let’s face it, that’s unrealistic.  But I’m happy with them as they are.  I can’t afford to be a princess about it.  I make them practically every week for my father.   He always hopes I’ve got a few cracked ones so he can have them ASAP.  He’s rather addicted to them.  Me?  I’m just not sure that’s manly 😉

None of that changes the fact they can be really sweet.  They are quite small, though, and if you pick your fillings right, they don’t have to be sickly sweet.  My favourite?  Raspberry or lime and dark chocolate ganache.  I also quite like this version.  The filling isn’t too sweet and is so light, it’s a perfect foil for the sweet, crackly shell.

A splash of Limoncello doesn’t hurt.

Just enough to transport you to the Amalfi coast.

Riding a Vespa.

In my dreams.  *sighs audibly*  😀

The recipe for the macaron shells is the same as the one given in the Wattleseed Frangelico Macarons post, using the Italian meringue method.

You know they are gluten and wheat free, right?  Yes, they are.

Yield 30 – 36 macarons (depends on the size)

Macaron Shells
150 grams almond meal
150 grams icing sugar
55 grams egg white
135 grams sugar
40 grams water
55 grams egg white
pinch of salt
yellow food colouring (gel or powder)

Limoncello Filling
175 grams ricotta
75 grams mascarpone
30 grams icing sugar
100 grams cream
40 millilitres Limoncello

For the macaron shells
Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Line 2 – 3 large baking sheets with silpat sheets or baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the almond meal and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is very fine and silky in texture.  You can test it between two fingers.  I do this before sifting the mixture, but if you prefer, just sift the almond meal and icing sugar together.  Once done, place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the 55 grams of egg white and mix well with a spatula until you obtain a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Place the remaining 55 grams of egg white and salt into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and start whisking at low-medium speed.  Place the water into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Dissolve the sugar, in the water, over a low heat.  Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar reaches 115°C.  By this stage the egg whites should have reached a soft peak stage.  Continue whisking at medium speed as you pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream.  Keep whisking until the bowl cools to just warm.  I usually whisk the meringue for about 10 minutes or so and turn up the speed for a minute or two at the end.  Towards the end of whisking, add a little of the yellow food colouring until you get the desired shade.  The meringue needs to be stiff.  When you lift the whisk, there should be a solid stiff clump on the whisk.  It should be able to look you in the eye without flinching.  The coloured meringue should not be streaked with white.

Scrape a small amount of the meringue into the bowl with the almond mixture and work it into the mixture to lighten it, using a spatula or pastry scraper.  I prefer the scraper.  Scrape the remaining meringue into the bowl and fold it into the almond mixture, flipping it over on to itself, and turning the bowl with each fold.  Make sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the mixture is homogenous, and there are no streaks of meringue or almonds.  Continue folding until the macaronage is at the stage where a little mixture, lifted, will fall back into itself slowly (i.e. the magma/lava stage everyone goes on about).

Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and pipe small mounds onto the baking sheets.  Rap the baking sheets hard onto the bench to expel any air bubbles.  Rap it again, harder, if you’re not sure.  Harder.  That’s it.  You need to be disturbing the peace in your neighbourhood.  Air bubbles are bad.  Get rid of them.

You can pop them straight into the oven or leave until the mixture forms a light crust for about 30 – 60 minutes.  It’s up to you.  Won’t matter either way.  Bake for about 15 – 16 minutes.  Depending on your oven, they may need another minute or so.

Remove the macaron shells from the oven and set aside to cool.  Remove from the baking sheets and pair up shells of the same size.

For the Limoncello filling
Place the ricotta, mascarpone, and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.  Add the cream and Limoncello and whisk until thickened and light.

Fit a piping bag with a plain tip and fill with the Limoncello filling.  Pipe onto the macaron halves and sandwich the pairs together.  Refrigerate a few hours at least to allow the macarons to mature and flavours develop.

Because of the creamy filling, the macarons will soften more than those filled with ganache.  They are best eaten within a day or two.  Enjoy!



Filed under All Recipe Posts, Biscuits & Cookies, Special Diet, Tarts & Patisserie

35 responses to “Limoncello Macarons

  1. I kind of understand where you’re coming from – too much sweet is just, well, too much! Take classic American buttercream – it makes me gag! But people love it and request it!. Give me whipped cream any day! Love limoncello – love the sound of these macarons…..your dad is one lucky man!

    • I’m right there with you on the subject of buttercream. Note the absence of buttercream in my frostings … all based on cream cheese or variations thereof. Much less sweet, much more edible. Frankly, looks and presentation are important but ultimately, it’s supposed to be delicious. So I say HOORAY for flavour 🙂 BTW, can you let my father know how lucky he is? He seems to be rather demanding and the word ‘please’ seems to be absent from his vocab. 😉 kidding!

  2. What pretty babies – thanks to you and the post you referenced about the macaron myths on the other post I went out and bought a carton of eggwhites, ground almonds and more icing sugar and …. well I haven’t actually made any yet…. but…. maybe next week…. I was thinking lemon too, but I don’t have limoncello… your choc mousse recipe is waiting for me too x

    • you can always just use a little lemon juice and lots of grated lemon zest. Maybe add a tiny bit more sugar, depending on how tart the lemons are. Glad to be of service and a bad influence to boot!!! 🙂

      • I tried the Brave Tart method. What a palaver it is! I think I piped the wrong way too. But the important thing is that I had a go… I just made plain ones in the end and stuffed some of her choclate buttercream in the middle. Cracked and mishapen, but all mine. I think I will try your method next. I should have grabbed some limoncello when I was at the Italian importers the other day… (makes mental note to do so). I will report back when I get up the oomph to have a go at these x Joanna

      • don’t be disheartened. most important thing is to get a really good mean meringue and not mix it to the point where it’s not pipeable. Also, check your oven temp and make sure you don’t use the fan forced in case it’s too strong. i had a lot of misadventures a couple of months ago when I tried baking them in a new oven. I got cool looking berets and a lot of cracked Mt Vesuvius ones. Really destroyed my confidence. had fan issues (all gone now) and got my oven temp sorted…it was 10C higher than the stated temp. So lots of things can make the difference. just be patient and have fun with it. My family love it if I get a mac fail cos they get to eat them without filling out of the oven ;D
        Looking forward to hearing about and sharing mac-ventures!! I’m making some this weekend xx

  3. Your macarons look amazing. I have yet to try making them, even though I have been meaning to for ages. I also agree regarding buttercream, and I tend to scrape off the frosting before eating the cake.

  4. Loved these macarons…The filling of limoncello sounds yummy. Lovely pic.

  5. I have some homemade limoncello, I wonder if that will work. My daughter loves macarons. I am with you, a bit to sweet for me.

  6. They look like Laduree’s ones! And the flavour is awesome!

  7. These are gorgeous!! And are bursting with the flavors of summer

  8. Ive sadly never had a macaron! But if looks are anything to go by these would be down right perfect and utterly delicious. Your pictures are just enchanting and look so darn yummy! Hopefully one day I will be able to find out what these little gems actually taste like 🙂

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  10. Mike

    What beautiful macarons! I’m definitely with you on the “too sweet” team. I’ve had good ones from this bakery in New Orleans, but when making them at home, all the recipes I’ve tried have been too sweet. I might have to experiment next time like I did with the food coloring (I don’t have gel or powder, so in place of some of the water for the sugar syrup, I add liquid food coloring with the water, and sometimes vanilla paste).

    • Thank you Mike! I’ve mucked about with my recipe for the shells for a long time and found that this amount of sugar allows me to cut back enough so they are not overly sweet but still have enough to stabilise the shell mix. The real trick is to make a filling that isn’t too sweet otherwise one has no room to manoeuvre 😉
      Your approach to the food colouring is the right way to go, given you’re using liquid food colouring so don’t worry about that! Happy macaroning 😀

  11. I hear ya when it comes to too sweet, but they look wonderful. Something so refreshing about lemon.

  12. Che deliziosa ricetta !
    Every year (season for lemons) I make Limoncello, If I will do these macarons I’ll let you know how it came forth.

    • Oh thank you! I LOVE homemade limoncello … had to cut down our lemon tree so have to buy it for now. I have to make these again too…so light and fresh. If you do make them, please post a photo on the FB page! 🙂

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