I know many people think that macarons are a fad, but not me. I still think they are the perfect morsel of a deliciously decadent treat. So for my birthday this year I wanted to brush up on my macaron making skills and develop a macaron using bergamot. Bergamot is the citrus fruit that is used to flavour Earl Grey tea but you don’t often see them in the supermarkets. When I came across some in Waitrose at the beginning of the year, I bought 6 not knowing what I would do with them. Well, I didn’t do anything with them. I found out the season was really short and that the flavour can be very overpowering. I decided to zest and juice them. I froze the juice in ice cube trays and wrapped the zest in baking paper then placed them in a container and put it in the freezer until I had a game plan.
So here is my game plan. I used the lemon birthday macaron recipe I posted in 2016 and replaced the lemon in Pierre Herme’s recipe with the bergamot. I also ended up adding extra bergamot zest to the bergamot cream so there was enough Earl Grey flavour to make me happy, but they were still quite lemony, pleasing the Earl Grey phobes.
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
110g ‘liquified’ egg whites (separate the egg whites 3 days before using)
1/2g golden yellow food colouring
10g lemon yellow food colouring
300g caster sugar
75g mineral water
110g ‘liquified’ egg whites
For the bergamot cream
225g whole fresh eggs
240g caster sugar
160g fresh bergamot juice (1-2 bergamots)
350g ‘La Viette’ butter at room temperature
100g ground almonds
bergamot zest (to taste)
- To ‘liquify’ the egg whites leave them to age for 3 days before using.
- The day before, make the bergamot cream.
- Rinse, dry and zest the bergamots.
- Rub the zest and the sugar together.
- In a bowl, mix together the bergamot juice, the bergamot zest and sugar mixture and the eggs. Tip this into a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Beat until the mixture reaches 83/84°C. Allow to cool to 60°C then add the butter cut into pieces. Whisk until the cream is smooth then use a hand blender to blend for 10 minutes.
- Pour the cream into a gratin dish. Press cling film over the surface of the cream. Set aside in the fridge until the next day.
- Next day, sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Stir the food colouring into the first portion of the liquified egg whites. Pour the coloured egg whites over the mixture of icing sugar and ground almonds but do not stir.
- Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118°C. When the syrup reaches 115°C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquified egg whites to soft peaks.
- When the sugar reaches 118°C, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50°C, then fold into the almond-sugar mixture.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a plain nozzle.
- Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment.
- Rap the trays on the work surface covered with a cloth to remove any air bubbles. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes until a skin has formed on the surface.
- Preheat oven to 180°C then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes.
- When out of the oven, slide the shells onto the work surface.
- Stir together the bergamot cream and the ground almonds. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of cream on to half the shells and top with the remaining shells.
- Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours and bring them back out for 2 hours before serving.