These Macarons are my british twist on a french classic.
I am generally underwhelmed when I bake with tea. So often the raw flavour of tea doesn't make it through an overpoweringly sweet bake. These macarons don't disappoint in that regard. The earl grey is strong in flavour and easily detected. In combination with beautifully light lemon swiss buttercream this bake is one of my favourites. Swiss buttercream is what takes this bake to a new level - it has fast become my preferred icing as it is not as sweet as traditional american buttercream. Made by heating egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of hot water before quickly whipping in butter, it's definitely worth a try and not just for this bake. Its smooth, light and fantastic texture will easily work in many other recipes.
For the macarons
-165g Ground almonds (sifted)
-185g Icing sugar (sifted)
-10g Loose leaf earl grey tea (finely ground using a food processor and sifted)
-4 Egg whites (from small eggs)
-170g Caster sugar
For the Lemon swiss buttercream
-2 Egg whites (from small eggs)
-120g Caster sugar
-175g Unsalted butter (at room temperature and chopped into pieces)
-Juice of 2 lemons
You will also need: A cooking thermometer
-Preheat your oven to 150 degrees (fan) and line two baking sheets each with parchment paper outlining 10 x 4.5 inch circles (which will act as a template for your macarons).
-Prepare your macarons by blitzing your icing sugar, tea leaves and almonds in a food processor before sifting into a bowl.
-To this mixture add two of your four egg whites and stir to create a thick paste before setting aside.
-In a free standing electric mixer (with whisk attachment), place your remaining two egg whites.
-In a saucepan heat sugar and water on a medium heat. When the temperature of the cooking thermometer reads 105 degrees (c) turn on your electric mixer and begin to whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
-When the sugar temperature reaches 118 degrees (c) remove from the heat and, while the mixer is whisking on a slow speed, start to pour your sugar mixture onto the egg whites to form an italian meringue.
-Whisk until the bowl is no longer hot to touch before folding the meringue into the earl grey paste.
-When the mixture is fully combined, place in a piping bag and pipe onto your parchment sheet ensuring you do not overfill the circles to create evenly sized macarons.
-Leave macarons uncovered at room temperature for at least 45 minutes (this ensures a skin forms on the top of the macarons and means they form a "foot" and don't spread out like pancakes).
-Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on the baking sheets.
-Meanwhile prepare your lemon swiss buttercream by placing eggwhites and sugar over a pan of simmering water and whisking using a handheld electric whisk.
-Keep whisking over heat until the mixture reaches 72 degrees (c) before pouring into a freestanding electric mixer (with whisk attachment) and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes stiffer.
-Gradually add the butter, piece by piece and incorporate fully before adding lemon juice.
-Whisk until the mixture comes together fully before placing in a piping bag and using it to sandwich two of your macaron biscuits together.
-Enjoy soon after filling as the moisture from the buttercream will begin to break down your crisp macaron shells.
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