I love lemons. In California I had a lemon tree in my backyard and loved it. And though now everyone is talking about meyer lemons all over the food blogosphere, I thought it the best time to share some lovely lemon macarons made with some of the best lemons Italy has to offer from the Amalfi coast and the Bay of Naples, filled with a naughty limoncello liqueur ganache!
You may remember my experiment with Basilcello, Basil Liqueur-Liquor which was a delicious alternative to the most popular version of the fruity digestive, limoncello. Though I have several bottles of limoncello at home, and my favorite crema di limoncello, the creamy lemon liquor, this time I used a bottle of limoncello given to us by a friend from Procida, an island off the coast of Naples.
You may have heard of Procida if you’ve ever seen the Italian film Il Postino, and parts of The Talented Mr. Ripley. This limoncello was made by my friend’s mother, and some of the best I’d ever tasted. I wanted to use the very last of it to share it something with several people, in the form of lovely lemony macarons!
If you want to make your own limoncello, here are some links to get you started:
- Limoncello Recipe and Crema di Limoncello from Lucullian Delights
- Limoncello Recipe from Bleeding Espresso
- Limoncello Recipe from Erin Cooks
- Crema di Limoncello Recipe from Vanilla Garlic
Lemon French Macarons
Note: Macarons take a little planning ahead to age the egg whites and this recipe requires a day ahead to dry out the lemon zest.
100 g whole skinned almonds (or almond flour)
100-110g. egg whites (I suggest weighing above using a # of eggs, but about 3 eggs’ whites), aged 2-3 days at room temperature
200g. powdered sugar
4-5 T. white sugar
Food coloring (as desired)
Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest the entire lemon, making sure to avoid grating up the white part (pith) of the lemon and leave it to dry overnight.
- Remove any almond skins and grind the almonds as finely as possible together with the dried lemon zest. In a small container/bowl, whisk the powdered sugar together with the almonds to blend well and break up lumps. If you have a large food processor, you can pulse them together a few times.
- In another, large mixing bowl, begin to (electronically) whisk the egg whites. After they start foaming, add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue whipping until it gets thick and “like magma.”
- Fold the dry mix carefully (and slowly) into the meringue – I use a spatula – and add the food coloring, if desired, until fully mixed.
- Fill your piping bag and pipe the macarons out onto a baking sheet lined with regular parchment paper. Leave them to set for 30 – 60 minutes to form a skin.
- Preheat the oven to 150° C / 300F. Cook macarons 8-10 minutes, keeping a careful eye on them. After taking out of the oven, let cool completely before filling them.
- I recommend filling the macarons immediately before eating, or the same day. Store unused macaron halves in an airtight container and they will be good for several days.
- Put a dollop of the limoncello ganache on one half of the macaron before placing the other half on top.
Limoncello White Chocolate Ganache
100g white chocolate, chunked
1/4 cup (about 50ml) of limoncello liqueur
- Heat the limoncello on medium heat, until it starts to simmer. Cook a bit of the liquid off, and remove from heat. Add the white chocolate chunks to the mixture, stirring until smooth. If it doesn’t melt, heat it for a few seconds on the burner and then remove again.
- If the mixture is too solid, add more limoncello and taste it (often!). Let the mixture cool completely before trying to fill the macarons. If it stays too liquid, set it in the fridge for 30 minutes.