Monday, February 8, 2010

Key Lime Pie Macarons

I have never tasted Key Lime Pie before or even seen Key Limes in the supermarket. So I was pleasantly surprised when I finally saw those green little balls in the store the other day. Key limes are more tart and aromatic than regular limes and they are also a lot smaller in size. They are named for their origin, the Florida Keys.

The first thing I made was of course Key Lime Pie, which tasted very good and had a great tartness. The filling is traditionally made with sweetened condensed milk. After making the pie, I had some leftover filling and egg whites. This made me think they would make good macarons.

The tartness of the filling compliments the sweetness of the macaron shells very well. You will have some leftover filling. You can either use it as pie filling (baked in a pie crust instead of the ramekins), or just eat it as a yummy lime curd.

I am submitting these Macarons to Mactweets, a Macaron Lovers' group I just discovered. Every month there is a different theme for Macarons. You should check out the great creations on their pages. This month theme is Valentine's Day.  Well, on the first look my Macaron might look not very Valentine like, but after the winter who wouldn't want to spend a romantic getaway on the Florida Keys.

Key Lime Pie Macarons

Macaron shells:

(adapted from Tartelette)

80g egg whites (about 2 large egg whites - aged for 3-5 days in the fridge)
22g granulated sugar
180g powdered sugar
100g ground almonds
zest of 1 key lime
green food coloring


3 eggs
2 egg yolks
100g granulated sugar
350 ml (1½ cups) sweetened condensed milk
zest from 2 key limes, very fine
juice from 6 key limes

Make the shells:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, add the food coloring, if using liquid coloring (if using powdered coloring add it later to the almond/ sugar mixture), then gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar, almonds and lime zest in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280 degrees Fahrenheit (140° Celsius). When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. 

Make the filling: 
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150° Celsius). Beat together the eggs, egg yolks and granulated sugar for about 2 minutes. Then beat in the condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Fill the cream in an ovenproof form or in ramekins. Put in a water bath in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until set. Let cool before filling the shells.

Pipe the key lime filling with help of a pastry bag on the center of one shell and top with another one.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
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