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Friday, April 9, 2010

Earl Grey & Honey Lemon Macarons

Along with the rest of the world, I'm having a macaron craze right now. I can't get enough of it! So, I'm currently experimenting with flavors, traditional and new, in macarons. This week's flavors are earl grey tea and honey lemon. Earl grey is probably one of the staple macaron flavors and you can find it in almost every macaron shop. On the other hand, I've never seen a honey lemon macaron before so I'm more excited in making this than  the earl grey one.

For the macaron shells, I used Pierre Herme's recipe and just colored them differently for each flavor. I added brown and red food coloring powder to the earl grey one, and yellow to the honey lemon one. For the earl grey ones, I also sprinkled some earl grey tea on the macaron shells before baking so that people could kind of guess what the flavor was. As for the honey lemon ones, I tried to be creative and added shreds of lemon peels on the shells before baking and it turned out to be a bad idea. I didn't think the small amount of moisture in the lemon peel could cause the shell to kind of bubbled up during baking.
(look at the bad ones at the back, I tried to hide them)

Luckily, I only added shredded lemon peels on my first batch. Anw, now for the fillings. I used Pierre Herme's recipe for earl grey chocolate ganache, but instead of milk chocolate, I used Valrhorna dark chocolate (61%). Actually, the floral note of the dark chocolate complemented the earl grey fragrance quite well. For the honey lemon filling, I made a batch of honey lemon curd and use a little bit of it to make honey lemon buttercream. I added more honey to the buttercream because I thought the honey flavor was not very pronounced in the curd. At the end, the buttercream had a distinctive honey flavor and it was not as sweet as
I though it was going to be, so everything turned out well.

Here they are, earl grey and honey lemon macarons :)

I like the earl grey ones better since I'm a big fan of chocolate, but the honey lemon ones are delicious too. I think I mentioned in my previous posts that I don't like citrus or sour taste in my sweets and the honey lemon macarons surprise me. I quite like it despite its sort of intense sourness. If you want to make these macarons, just follow the recipe in my last post for the shell. As for the filling, find the recipes below :)

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Ganache

190 g heavy whipping cream
5 tea bags earl grey black tea (I used Stash Premium Earl Grey Black Tea)
200 g dark chocolate (I used Varlhorna)
70 g unsalted butter

1. Steep the tea bags in simmering heavy whipping cream fro 30 minutes to get maximum flavor. If the cream comes to a boil, turn of the heat.
2. After 30 minutes of steeping, remove tea bags and squeeze of the cream out of them. Add enough heavy whipping cream to make sure it's 190 g. Boil the cream for 1 minute.
3. Pour the hot cream over finely chopped chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes.
4. Stir the chocolate mixture and add the butter. Stir the mixture until smooth.
5. Refrigerate the ganache until use.

Honey Lemon Buttercream

Honey Lemon Curd (adapted from here)
5 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for garnishing
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the whole egg, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and the honey.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Set the bowl with the lemon mixture over the boiling water, reduce the heat to moderate and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter.
4. Pass the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl.
5. Ladle the strained curd into a container. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming; refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours.
*You'll have plenty of honey lemon curd leftover after making the buttercream.

Honey Lemon Buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup honey lemon curd
about 1/4 cup or less of almond powder

1. Beat softened butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add honey and honey lemon curd into the butter and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look curdled.
3. Add almond powder by the teaspoonful until the mixture does not look curdled anymore.
4. Store in refrigerator until use and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before filling.

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