These pretty, pastel macaroons with their crunchy outsides and delectably soft insides are the sweetest of confections. They improve by being left in the fridge for a day where their texture softens and improves, that is, if you can resist devouring them.
Makes: 60 shells, 30 filled pairs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Setting time: 30-60 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Ingredients for the macaroons
110g (4oz) Tate & Lyle's icing sugar
50g (2oz) ground almonds
60g (2½oz) egg whites, about 1½ large eggs, at room temperature
Pinch salt 20g (¾oz)
Tate & Lyle's golden caster sugar
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
Yellow food colouring paste for the filling
3 rounded tbsp lemon curd
Tate & Lyle's icing sugar, to dust
You will also need a piping bag fitted with 5mm (¼“) plain nozzle, a 3cm (1¼“) plain pastry cutter and 3 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
First, to ensure all the macaroons are the same size, use the pastry cutter as a guide. Using a pencil heavily draw 60 circles on the sheets of parchment, well spaced apart, as the macaroons spread a little. Turn the paper over and place on the baking sheets, otherwise you will have pencil on the base of each macaroon.
Blend the icing sugar and almonds together in a food processor for 30 seconds to combine.
Next, place the egg whites and salt in a spotlessly clean, dry bowl, ensuring that there are absolutely no specks of yolk in the whites or they will not whisk as well. Using an electric mixer, beat for 2 minutes or until they hold a soft peak.
Still whisking, gradually add a teaspoonful of caster sugar at a time, making sure that the sugar is well incorporated before adding the next – this will take about 3 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
Use a little of this meringue mixture to secure the parchment paper to the baking sheets.
Add the lemon zest and colouring next, whisking them in so that the colour is evenly blended.
Using a metal spoon, fold the icing sugar mixture into the meringue until thoroughly incorporated, smooth and it easily drops from a spoon.
Fill the piping bag with half the mixture. If you overfill the bag too much mixture tends to come out at a time. Pipe onto the prepared baking sheets and then tap them hard on the work surface to pop any air bubbles.
Before baking, leave the macaroons for anywhere between 30-60 minutes so they ‘set’ and form a dry outer shell. They should not be sticky, tacky or wet when tested with your fingertip. This is an important part of macaroon making as it also helps them form a smooth, glossy surface and ensures that they have their trademark puffed out, crinkly base after they are baked.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan150°C, 325°F, Gas Mark .
Bake the macaroons on the middle shelf of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 7-8 minutes until crisp on top, puffed out at the base and barely coloured. Cool on the baking sheet, then remove.
Sandwich together with lemon curd, lightly cover and place in the fridge for anything between 1-24 hours to soften.
Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.