It was absolutely beautiful here this weekend. Sunny, warm, no sweater kind of weather. Spring was definitely in the air. So it had me itching to break into some spring flavors.
Lemons and blueberries are such a great combo. The rich, vibrant, sweet flavor of the blueberries with the bright, tart flavor of the Meyer lemons. So light and warm. Like a little cup of springtime. Mmmm.
So, the original plan with this recipe was to make the macarons and sandwich a Meyer lemon buttercream between them. BUT, I did something silly.
I didn’t follow my own advice in aging the egg whites. Typically, what you want to do is separate the whites from the yolks, cover them, and leave them to age at least 24 hours. This allows for some of the moisture to escape from the whites so that you have a stronger, drier shell when baking. Well, I only aged these whites about 10 hours. I had forgotten to take them out the morning before, so I waited until I got home from work. Because of this, the shells cracked while they were baking. Bah!
So, because they cracked, and because they had more moisture in them than my usual macaron shells, I knew that they wouldn’t hold well being sandwiched with the buttercream. They came out flat, a bit chewy, just not what I was hoping for. Plan B then! Mousse. Meyer Lemon Mousse.
This mousse is dreamy. Incredibly light, frothy, almost more like a foam than a mousse. Not too sweet, so that lemon flavor really jumps out at you. I will continue to make this mousse over and over again. It was fantastic; perfect for a light, springy dessert. So mousse then, with a macaron accent. I added a macaron to the bottom of the cup, poured in the mousse, then stuck another macaron on top. The macaron on the bottom completely dissolved, making this blueberry/lemon mousse layer. The macaron on top softened underneath, but remained thin and crispy on top. It was sort of like breaking through the top layer on a crème brulee. Awesome. I’m almost glad that the shells didn’t turn out; this was just so good.
I just love when mistakes turn into something even better than the original. Why didn’t I think of this first? I would have saved myself a lot of four-letter words
What cooking mistakes have you made that turned into something great? THG
Meyer Lemon Mousse with Blueberry Macarons
1 cup almond flour
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup ground freeze-dried blueberries
3 egg whites, aged 24-48 hours and at room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2-3 drops blue gel food coloring
In a food processor, combine the almond flour, powdered sugar and ground blueberries. Pulse to mix. Sift mixture three times into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip egg whites on medium-high until very frothy. Reduce speed to low and add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low again and add in food coloring. Increase speed to medium-high again and whip to stiff peaks. Fold in dry ingredients, about 50 folds, until batter is smooth and shiny. Pipe into 1” circles on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Tap the sheets on the counter top to release any trapped air bubbles. Let sit for 45-60 minutes until the tops dry out slightly.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Once heated, reduce to 300ºF. Add shells to the middle of the oven, one tray at a time, and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway through. Allow to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Move to cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
Makes approximately 40 shells
Meyer Lemon Mousse
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon extract
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar, separated
5 egg whites
In a stand mixer, whip heavy cream and lemon extract together until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a double boiler set over medium heat, whip egg yolks, lemon juice and 1/6 cup sugar. Whip vigorously until thickened and a candy thermometer reaches 145ºF. Remove from heat. Whip in a stand mixer until cooled to room temperature and mixture is thick, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
In a clean double boiler set over medium heat, whip egg whites and remaining sugar until a candy thermometer reads 145ºF. Move to a stand mixer and whip to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture until well-combined. Fold heavy cream into egg mixture until smooth and creamy.
In a small glass, like a highball glass, add a blueberry macaron to the bottom. Pour mousse over until the glass is almost full. Add another macaron to the top. Refrigerate to set, at least 4-6 hours. Serve chilled.