Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lime And Coconut Macarons

I put the lime in the coconut and I'm so glad I did because these macarons are now my absolute favorite. The tartness of the filling perfectly balances the sweetness of the shells.

I used my recipe for Lime Buttercream and just added 2 teaspoons of coconut extract and a few drops of electric green food coloring.

For the macaron shells, I added a just a touch of blue coloring to whiten them (click here for the explanation as to why this works) and topped them with shredded coconut before baking. It's important to get the coconut onto the piped macarons before they dry or the coconut won't stick.

Adding toppings to macaron shells is getting quite popular, I've seen everything from sprinkles and nuts to edible gold. The only downside of adding a topping is that the macarons don't sit flat after filling so a solution to this would be to add the topping only to the top shell. Or, do as I did and top all the shells and simply sit the macarons on their side to serve.

Here's the recipe:

Lime And Coconut Macarons
 180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar
smallest touch of blue coloring
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Line four heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.

Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts. Add the touch of blue coloring and mix just until combined.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 

Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small quarter sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.

Top each of the piped macarons with a pinch of shredded coconut.

Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.
While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable. 

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.

Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.

Sort into pairs and fill with a dollop of Lime And Coconut Buttercream.

Lime And Coconut Buttercream 
Zest of two limes
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons coconut extract
green food coloring

Mix together the zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar and lime juice and add it to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, heat the mixture until it comes to a boil, watching it and stirring it constantly. Simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes until it's reduced and begins to caramelize on the edges. The zest will change color to a darker green.

Remove the mixture from the stove and transfer it to small bowl to cool. Let it cool completely.

Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in the salt, coconut extract and cooled lime mixture and whip on high speed until fluffy. Tint with green food coloring.

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