Macarons with Lemon Curd…and Why I Thought I’d Never Fall In Love (with Macs) Again


(name that song…)

What do you get when you fall in love?
Macs with no feet to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for your baking trouble
I’ll never fall in love again…

The first time I made macarons, it didn’t turn out too bad. I think I got it too easy. Meh…I’ve done it and that’s it!

In January, I told Deeba and Jamie (or did I beg?) I will be joining Mactweets for Mac Attack 4. I’ve had the book, I Love Macarons , since December and was curious to try the 2 main recipes there. I also thought to test my luck and see if it will pull me through another round of experimentation. Oh, boy, and did The Universe ever slap me back with a resounding ‘Better luck next time!’ and made me hate myself for undertaking numerous failed recipes. (The recipes from the tiny book above didn’t work out for me.)

Eight batches of macarons from different recipes later, here I am.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Yes, you read that right. I said EIGHT. 8!

Making macarons became torture and I asked myself several times — “ARE YOU I-N-S-A-N-E?” during those sad nights of baking.

What do you get when you fall in love…

I became desperate. Our deadline for posting for Mac Attack 4 is today and I had none to show for all my efforts as of yesterday. Before I headed to bed the other night (technically past midnight yesterday), I wailed tweeted about going for my eighth try, and feeling sorry for all the chickens I’ve failed (21 eggs!!!). Deeba gave me the link to the 2-egg-white recipe that she adapted from “Ottolenghi – The Cookbook”. I decided that I might as well try it because I have nothing else left to lose aside from 2 more eggs, putting my egg count to 23 as of last night.

I almost cried and danced when I saw feet about 6 minutes into baking time of the first tray in the oven.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Dancings queens with dancing feet

Can you blame me for dramatic reaction? And the abundance of photos? I just need to remind myself that It’s okay! You did it! All those depressing night after night of macaruins are a thing of the past.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

True story: I think in my 3rd attempt, I ate a whole tray of baked macaron shells out of anger and frustration. Yep.

I didn’t put any other color or flavorings to the meringue cookie shells, but I made up for it with a very flavorful filling of lemon curd, inspired by my recent Key Lime Meringue Pie. I made lemon curd thickened with cornstarch. It was good, but not good enough to post. I still have to tweak the recipe to have a good flavor and consistency without tasting the cornstarch. I know, I know… The starchy taste wasn’t noticeable once it’s sandwiched between two shells, but I’d just be lying to myself if I say that it’s great. Do you have any suggestions to thicken the curd for the filling? I’d love to hear about it.

In my mind I wanted to have this macaron as a  miniature version of a Lemon Meringue pie: the meringue being the shell, and the lemon curd as filling. I’m happy with it, but I’m going to experiment more. I have renewed macaron baking confidence. Haha.

Aside from that pie concept, one of my other goals was to have no waste with the recipe. I had 2 egg yolks from the meringue recipe that went to the curd. If there’s one thing I learned from my macaron Hall of Shame, I’d say I’m done wasting eggs!

Macarons with Lemon Curd

This little piggy will go to the hennery to ask penance from the chickens we've failed.

The funny thing is, while I mixed the batter for the meringue, I knew this would work. Something about the texture, weight, and feel of it that made me think this one is different. Ah, lather, rinse, repeat.

And this is just the beginning of my Macaronicles: The Saga.

Mac Attack!

P.S. I forgot to mention that this month’s Mac Attack theme is Mac-A-Valentine and we’re supposed to have Valentine-inspired Macs. I’m not one to go with convention, and instead of something chocolate, I’d prefer the puckery lemon curd. Plus, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than never giving up and sticking with it through hell and back. Eight batches of failed macs in pursuit of the best. Now THAT’s what I call love. (Or martyrdom.)

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  • February 10, 2010 6:02 pm

    23 eggs … what a way to drive the addiction home Joy. In the end, JOY couldn’t be better than these, no sight as good at ‘feet’! How absolutely awesome & pretty they look. I wept with you when I heard you finally found feet, and musy say, they are utterly pretty ones. Great photographs too!
    Thank you for joining us at MacTweets. It’s our pleasure to have you with us!
    ‘This little piggy will go to the hennery to ask penance from the chickens we’ve failed.’… LOL LOL LOL!!
    .-= deeba´s last blog ..CHICKEN CURRY, OLYMPICS & BLOGGER AID … Culinary Connections!! =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:29 am

      I was near-quitting phase, Deeba! If it wasn’t for Mactweets, I would have given up. :) Thanks so much. :)

  • February 10, 2010 6:30 pm

    Joy these are lovely – I have been avidly following your late night (early morning for me) tweets about the trials of mac making and me, still being no expert, I was right there with you every step of the way! So excited that you got feet and when I saw that tweet, I literally went “whoo hoo” in my staff room!
    .-= Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog ..Blogger Secret Ingredient =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:30 am

      I was starting to sound pathetic. LOL!!! It’s so nice to have a support group on Twitter…Haha! Being on different time zones can be a blessing in that case because, let’s face it, I rarely sleep. :)

  • February 10, 2010 6:51 pm

    Fun post! I’m so glad you got feet! I know the joy of finally seeing feet! I too made a lemon curd filling. Mine would have been better thicker too.
    .-= Barbara Bakes´s last blog ..CSN Stores Giveaway – What to Choose? =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:32 am

      Thanks, Barbara! I’m so envious of your macaron baking party. I could use some company when baking. :)

  • February 10, 2010 9:45 pm

    Congratulations on you macs. They are fabulous. I haven’t done any macaroons. Maybe soon.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:38 am

      Thanks, Divina! You should try it. I feel rather accomplished after 8 tries. Ha ha.

  • February 10, 2010 9:51 pm

    Bravo, Joy! If it makes you feel any better, it took me 6 tries and… wait – I have to count… mmmmm… probably as many eggs as you used, before I got my first feet. :-) And I didn’t even bother to fill the shells this month. I couldn’t get the filling right and surrendered.

    Yours are beautiful and well worth the effort!
    .-= RJ Flamingo´s last blog ..The Valentine Edition =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:42 am

      Renee, that did make me feel better! LOL. Poor eggs and chicken.

      And your macs are forgiven for their lack of filling. Geez…they’re absolutely gorgeous!

  • February 10, 2010 10:55 pm

    Yay! These little macs look PERFECT!!

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:42 am

      Thanks, babe! Wish I could drop some for you while you work through the pilots. :p

  • February 10, 2010 11:10 pm

    I can’t believe you made 8 batches. I would have given up long before that. Regardless, I’m happy you finally found your “feet” and they look so yummy!
    You said you weren’t happy with your lemon curd. I have a recipe (from Martha Stewart) which doesn’t use cornstarch. Just eggs yolks. And you can use the whites for the macs!
    .-= Kristina@FormerChef´s last blog ..Black Bean Soup with Avocado Salsa =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:43 am

      Trust me, I’m still in disbelief. Haha. Thanks so much for the recipe! Looks like that’s the same recipe Barbara (above) used for hers. Perfect. I’ll try that. Yum, yum.

  • February 11, 2010 12:57 am

    i absolutely absolutely LOVE your macarons and it is sandwiched by one of my favouritest things in the world-lemon curd!:)) my mom would totally totally kill and bury me if i told her i used 21 eggs to make the most perfect macarons so maybe you should be my mom since you did that already and understand the need for me to sacrifice some eggs to make my omelette or rather in this case the macarons! hahaha. i am just kidding about you being my mom-too young eh? hehe
    .-= amy´s last blog ..Strawberry Sunshine =-.

    • joy
      February 11, 2010 1:45 am

      Amy, you crack me up. :p Yes, if my mom read this, she would probably flip over the fact that 23 eggs were harmed SO FAR in my love affair with macarons. :p

  • Wendy R
    February 11, 2010 2:22 am

    Joy! they’re gorgeous!! I’m so happy that your successful batch is yellow–they look so sunshiney. :-) Fabulous feet & fabulous pictures. I have to tell you, in a perverse way, I’m more tempted now to make macarons than I ever have been because you’ve chronicled your uphill battle. I’ve always felt like I’d never be able to do it in a few tries, and it makes me feel better that someone with so much baking experience had to go through the same thing!

  • February 11, 2010 2:53 am

    Ha! I will take the credit but not the blame! We all fall into our own crazy addictions. And you wonder why Deeba and I created Mactweets? Talk about crazy?

    And whatever it took, honey, you finally got the most perfect macarons I have yet to see! They are so perfect and beautiful! And I am drooling over dreams of macs filled with tart, tangy lemon curd! Yum! Fabulous! I am so so glad that you joined us and, with ultimate patience, played and baked until you came out with these beauties! I am sending you a huge hug from France!

    And I once made a lime curd that had no cornstarch but was fantastic! Try it using lemon. Brilliant!
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..BLUEBERRY HIBISCUS MACARONS =-.

  • February 11, 2010 5:15 am

    What a great read, and your macs look absolutely beautiful (love that you used the yolks for a lemon curd – mine sat in the fridge and rotted). I saw someone ele’s macs using the recipe from that cookbook, and they were beautiful too,, so now I’m definitely interested!

    I was in love with mac, and mac in love with me, but the witch dumped me 2 months ago and won’t come back to me. I haven’t had a beautiful mac since! I’m hoping ‘it’ comes back so we can fall in love again lol
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..‚ÄòChocolate dipped Strawberry‚Äô Macarons and the Winner is announced! =-.

  • February 11, 2010 7:25 am

    Beautiful mac’s! I love the pictures- everyone. And your shells look like they turened out just perfect. Your blog is wondrful, thanks for stopping by mine :)

  • February 11, 2010 11:38 am

    I wish I were as dedicated to macs as you! I tried once and have given up since… just waiting for someone to teach me/do it for me! hahaha! The lemon curd sounds like the perfect filling for me!

  • February 11, 2010 1:37 pm

    My husband will love these…it might have to be his valentine treat.
    .-= The Food Hunter´s last blog ..World Nutella Day =-.

  • February 11, 2010 4:04 pm

    Those look absolutely beautiful and sound delicious! So far I have had 2 failed attempts at making macarons, using 2 different recipes. One day I will also find the perfect recipe that will work for me!

  • February 11, 2010 4:45 pm

    Just thinking about the tartness of the lemon curd makes my mouth water. I totally know how you feel – the anticipation of waiting for those “feet” to rise. On another note – whenever cooking with cornstarch, always BOIL it for at least a minute to remove the cornstarchy texture. Hope this helps!

  • February 11, 2010 5:42 pm

    I’m so glad you were determined for maccess, these look divine!!! Really enjoyed the post. I can only hope that one day I will graduate to this level of baking.
    .-= redkathy´s last blog ..Warm & Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Adventure =-.

  • February 12, 2010 6:17 pm

    i’m actually a little terrified of them! maybe i will have to try this recipe and hope for success — but nothing about those looks easy!
    .-= katy´s last blog super girly (and a giveaway!) =-.

  • February 13, 2010 8:25 am

    They are perfect! Nice job. I bet the lemon is amazing, great flavor choice:)
    .-= maria´s last blog ..Valentine‚Äôs Day Recipes =-.

  • February 14, 2010 7:30 am

    Here’s my VERY thick lemon curd recipe
    2 whole eggs
    2 egg yolks
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    As much zest as I can pull off the lemons that made up that 1/2 cup of juice
    5 T cold butter

    cook the eggs, sugar, juice, and zest gently in a double boiler until very thick, stirring fairly constantly.

    run through a fine mesh sieve

    stir in the butter, 1 T at a time, then put into airtight containers and refrigerate. :)

    It’s super thick and delicious. If using Meyer Lemons, reduce sugar a bit.

  • February 16, 2010 1:04 pm

    Wow these look really fantastic!! Yum!

  • February 18, 2010 10:59 am

    Oh yes i had to try a lot sometimes to get the macs correct, there are times when my hubby got frustrated seeing me making the m again and again.
    Your look so perfect.
    I tried ottelonhi the first time after all the faliure of the other ones and they turned also pretty well.
    .-= Happy Cook´s last blog ..Chocolate buns =-.

  • February 21, 2010 6:54 am

    I remember your being so happy these turned out right. They’re just beautiful. Some day I shall make some like these.
    .-= Aparna´s last blog ..Vazhakkai Mezhukkuvaratti (Raw Plantains Cooked In Coconut Oil) =-.

  • EZSweets
    February 21, 2010 8:50 pm

    this is so cute! thnx for sharing delicious info!

  • February 21, 2010 11:33 pm

    Macarons are one of those “when I get the guts to try it” recipes – The best I’ve ever had were in Paris at Laduree. Once you’ve had those, it elevates your standards to a completely unrealistic level. But I have to say, from the look of your results (great photos as always), I am inspired. Still chicken though :)

    .-= Metroknow´s last blog ..February: Behind, but finally feeling better =-.

  • andrenna
    October 2, 2010 7:40 pm

    gahhh! as i sit with round 2 macaroons waiting to develop their skins, i know exactly how you feel. and i found your blog by searching for lemon curd fillings. i’m sad you didn’t post your recipe because even if it’s not perfect, i would have used it! :)

  • chipinthesky
    February 15, 2012 8:48 pm

    I just found your blog after being inspired to try a lemon curd filling. I love your line: “Making macarons became torture and I asked myself several times — “ARE YOU I-N-S-A-N-E?” during those sad nights of baking.”

    It’s exactly what I think each time I try to make these frustrating yet rewarding sweets! I am attempting my 5th batch this weekend, I think I’ve got the feet down packed, just need to get the smooth texture right. Thanks again for the recipe and wish me luck! :)

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