Week 96: Lemon and chocolate hazelnut macarons

 It has been a while since my last macaron bake. Honestly, sometimes I think that I can bake macarons in my sleep. I must have baked…hundreds! I feel the most tedious thing about macarons is the preparation. Grinding the almonds, cutting out the parchment (soon, I will move to silicon mat, soon), digging out my macaron template, thinking what to fill it with, the list goes on. But the baking itself is quite relaxing.
This is also a bake for a friend who asked for something “sour” and something with hazelnut. Both here, are new flavours that I have not baked before, and they turn out quits delicious. Here I made one batch of plain macaron shells, with a bright yellow tint for the non-whipped egg whites. This is then divided into two equal portions, the yellow shells for the lemon macaron, and 15g of melted unsweetened chocolate added to the other half to make the brown shells for the chocolate hazelnut.

Each filling is enough to fill 25 macarons

For the lemony crème mousseline

60g cream cheese, at room temperature

120g crème mousseline

45g lemon curd

1) Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until it is the texture of mayonnaise.

2) Add the crème mousseline and lemon curd and beat until mixture is smooth and homogeneous.

3) If mixture is too runny, fill it into a pastry bag and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.

For the chocolate hazelnut

30g blanched whole hazelnuts, toasted and cooled

1/8 tsp fleur de sel

50g dark chocolate couverture

50g milk chocolate couverture

100g heavy cream

1) Grind the toasted hazelnuts together with the fleur de sel.

2) Measure the chocolate couverture and place into a bowl.

3) Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until little bubbles began to form along the edge of the pan.

4) Pour the hot cream onto the chocolates and allow to sit for a minute. Then slowly stir until the ganache is smooth. If there are still lumps in the ganache, heat it gently using a Bain-Marie until fully melted.

5) Sprinkle the ground hazelnuts into the ganache and fold to incorporate.

6) Fill ganache in pastry bag and use.

One of my biggest problem with macarons is the baking process. I had problems baking on 2 racks in my small oven, so I can also back a tray of 20 shells each time, which can be very time consuming, seeing each batch of macarons consist of about 50 shells. And it’s always been a guessing game – I would be standing by the oven, making sure the heat is turned down the moment the shells start to brown. And for some reasons, I never remember to record the baking time and temperature! So this time I’m recording it here. As I baked the light lemon coloured shells and none of it browned, not even a little, I believe I have finally found that sweet spot – 150C for 6 minutes, followed by 120C for 12 minutes. Fan-forced. Perfect.

I was worried about over-salting the hazelnuts and I thought the ground nuts were a bit on the salty side. But I think it worked quite well with the mixture of milk and dark chocolate. Phew.

The lemon crème mousseline was a bit runny, but I love the taste. It is similar to my usual lemon Swiss meringue buttercream, just richer. Maybe if I do this again, I will stabilise it with some gelatine to make sure it holds better outside.

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