Today is my boys dad's birthday. Lucky George gets to be one year older...better him than me. Mind you it's my turn soon so I shouldn't be so smug! George is a great dad to Reuben and Harry so I wanted to give him something homemade as I think it's always a bit more special when someone thinks enough of you to make the effort, and put thought into, making something. I know George has a bit of a sweet tooth and I also know he has a weakness for all things lemon. One of the many books I got from Amazon.co.uk recently is this fantastic little book called 'Mad About Macarons'. I haven't eaten a lot of these in the past but there are some things you just know you will love. Incidentally the whoopie pie is another of these for me and I also bought a book on these too so keep an eye out for a whoopie pie post.
Anyway I digress...one thing that really drives me mad is when people misspell or mistake macarons for macaroons when they are two totally different things. Macarons are way more labour intensive than macaroons and I think much, much nicer with way more return on the hard work. As this was my first attempt I was really quite pleased with how they turned out. They may not be picture perfect and not exactly how they are meant to look but I'm sure with practice they will end up being much better to look at with a flatter and smoother top.
The macarons themselves aren't all that hard to make I think it's more getting the process right. Had I known better I would have added more colouring to the egg white mix to get a more vibrant yellow. As well as that I think my mixture could have been more glossy and maybe mixed a bit more to get the air out which may have given me those fatter and smoother tops. The filling was an interesting mix of a custard and butter icing. The butter is creamed and left while you boil milk and lemon extract. Once that boils you mix it into an egg yolk, some custard powder and icing sugar then thicken it on the stove again. Once it cools you beat in the creamed butter and some lemon zest. The shells are then filled and put into the fridge for at least 24 hours for the two to make a happy flavour and texture marriage. Of course in the interest of science we tried one straight after it had been filled, then another 3 hours after. I could tell that the author was right and the longer they are left the better the flavour and texture has to develop so it is nice and slightly crispy on the outside and soft and beautiful on the inside. I'll look forward to trying one tomorrow...and the next day too ;-)
Anyway I think George will like them and I'm really pleased that I have finally had the chance to make these after all this time of wanting to give them a go.
Happy Birthday George xxxxx
|Just piped onto the trays|
|After 40 mins sitting time|