Lemon French Macarons with Limoncello White Chocolate Ganache Recipe

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:

Lemon French Macarons with Limoncello White Chocolate Ganache Recipe

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

  1. Zest the entire lemon, making sure to avoid grating up the white part (pith) of the lemon and leave it to dry overnight.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. Fold the dry mix carefully (and slowly) into the meringue – I use a spatula – and add the food coloring, if desired, until fully mixed.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Lemon French Macarons resting

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  1. says

    those look lovely! and procida…is indeed lovely. i remember drinking a little home made “basilcello,” much better to me than lemon c–always too sweet for me.

    i made mario batali’s recipe years ago with lemons out of a friend’s backyard in ischia and it was like JET FUEL. i would avoid that recipe.

  2. says

    Those are just gorgeous and sunny looking macarons! Thank you for linking to my adventures in making Limoncello post. I still have a ton of it in the fridge.

  3. lieludalis says

    These are so beautiful, I can practically taste the lemon flavor!
    I will absolutely be making these as part of my macaron Easter baskets this year!

  4. says

    Sara, these look like little bites of sunshine bursting in your mouth!! I am sure they taste like that too. We could use a little sunshine in these cold parts :) Brava!

  5. says

    Just the thing to use up the limoncello we keep getting from friends- they look so light and fresh. I’ll try the crema di limoncello links too for a sponge cake filling. Thanks for posting this!

  6. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Tracie – oh, I’ve had jet fuel limoncello! Good times :)

    @Lola – I like your interpretation of the classic :)

    @Joan – I don’t like white chocolate either, but it went well together here!

  7. says

    White chocolate originates from the cocoa (cacao) plant, but it is not ‘chocolate.’ According to the FDA, to be called ‘chocolate’ a product must contain

    chocolate liquor, which is what gives it the biter intense chocolate flavor (and color) to dark and milk chocolates.

  8. says

    mmm – my ears pricked up when you said ‘Limoncello’ as I always have a bottle stashed in the bottom drawer of my freezer ! Now I am going to have to try these lovely, lemony macarons ;o)

  9. Shelley, At Home in Rome says

    My dear! Gorgeous photos as always… and limoncello, one can never have enough! I had a recipe too back in the day… but I won’t post my link here cuz I don’t want to get lost in your spam. Sigh, I do miss my lemon trees on my balcony in Rome–picking them every Feb-Mar and making limoncello was a wonderful tradition. I am forgetting about seasonal fruit and veg now that I’m back in the States, which is sad…

  10. Marijke says

    I would love to make the macarons and download the recipe. I don´t understand one thing, what do you mean by ´4-5 T shite sugar´, is it teaspoons or tablespoons?

  11. Food Covers says

    These look wonderful. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Nothing helps more than showing a picture of the final product.

  12. kat says

    Hey just wondering if the limoncello can be replaced with anything else that will still give a strong lemon flavour?

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