Cutting Macaron Sweetness
One of the most common complaints about macarons is that they are “too sweet”, I am from the camp that you should take macarons as they are. Either you like them or you don’t and forgo manipulating the sugar level in the shells to make it less sweet. Sugar is one of the few but basic ingredients in the shells and you need a certain amount of it for it to be stable. There are still ways to get around the perception of it’s sweetness and one of them is to consider the fillings that it’s being paired with.
Tart Fruit Filling Cuts the Sweetness in Macarons
The type and flavour of the fillings can greatly impact how sweet the resulting macarons will be. An American Buttercream – one that is made with icing sugar and butter – will be considerably sweeter than the Swiss or Italian version. Learn more about different Macaron Filling Types here. My personal preference is to NEVER use an American buttercream with macarons. It may be a sweet indulgence on cupcakes but it’s sugary taste is too much when paired with an already sweet macaron shell.
Another quick remedy to reduce the sweetness in macarons is to fill it with a tart fruit filling. The acidity in fruit fillings is a perfect mouthwatering contrast to the sweet shells. One of my favourite fruit fillings is the lemon buttercream with a lemon curd center. I really appreciate how this flavour can be achieved entirely with the fruit itself without the need for additional extracts.
A Lemon Curd Thick Enough for Use in Macarons
This recipe I’m sharing with you today, involves making a lemon curd first and then adding it into a Swiss meringue buttercream to create a lemon buttercream. The buttercream is piped into a ring shape, creating a dam, which will then be filled with lemon curd. I don’t know about you, but I found that every lemon curd macaron I’ve had in the past has been soggy since fruit curds are higher in moisture than other fillings. So in this recipe, I wanted a curd that would not cause the shells to become soggy. The end result is a very sturdy and lemon-y curd that holds up inside the macaron for days. I’m so pleased with the results and I hope you will get a chance to test out this new recipe of mine. It’s perfect for those who are looking for a macaron that is “less sweet”.
- zest of two organic lemons
- 76 grams organic lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 50 grams butter
- 180 grams granulated sugar
- 65 grams egg whites
- 130 grams granulated sugar
- 195 grams butter at room temperature
Zest the organic lemon, set aside.
In a heatproof glass bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Do not use metal bowls as it will react to the acidity in the lemon juice.
Add egg and beat until incorporated.
Add lemon juice and beat until incorporated.
Place over a pot of boiling water. Do not let the bottom touch the water.
Whisk gently to keep the mixture moving as it heats up.
Occasionally, check the temperature of the mixture. You should see the curd thicken up and it will coat the back of your spoon. Allow the mixture to reach 180F-185F. It might take a while (10-15 min), so be patient.
Take the mixture off the heat, add the lemon zest into the hot mixture to release the oils and mix until combined.
Pour through a sieve into another bowl for a smooth curd.
Let it cool down then place in the fridge. It will set up into an even firmer and thicker curd after you've chilled it in the fridge.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Place egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl. Stainless steel is light and safe.
- Whisk the whites & sugar mix over the boiling water.
- Pay attention to whisking the mixture when it starts getting hot, you don’t want to cook the eggs.
- Whisk the mixture until the temperature reaches 160F. This temperature is generally accepted to be able to kill salmonella in eggs.
- Pour the mixture into the Kitchenaid mixer and whisk on low with the balloon whisk, then turn it up to medium.
- Once the mixture is stiff and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, stop mixer. Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment.
- Add butter a little bit at a time while beating with the paddle attachment at medium speed.
- The mixture might look curdled or separated for a while but keep mixing. It will all come together.
Keep 200 grams of the buttercream for use in our current recipe. Freeze the rest of the buttercream for use at a later date.
Add 8 tablespoon of the curd into the buttercream, a tablespoon at a time and beat until incorporated.
Pipe a ring of lemon buttercream as a dam then fill it with the lemon curd. Assemble the shells together, place in fridge to mature for 24 hours. Enjoy!
- Organic lemon was used in this recipe since it requires the zest. Most of the pesticides on citrus fruits can be found on the peel.
- 240 grams almond flour
- 240 grams icing sugar
- 185 grams egg whites
- 165 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
More Macaron Recipes by Mimi
February 7th, 2016
August 3rd, 2017