Like most small towns across America, the little villages that make up the South Bay area of Los Angeles each have their own brand of summer festival. Come to think of it, the little hamlets of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach don’t just limit their celebrations to the summer. There’s the Old Hometown Fair in October. Then there are the Manhattan Beach Fireworks in December (so clever considering Fourth of July fireworks in this neck of the woods are usually made impossible to watch thanks to the early summer marine layer). Oh, and of course, St Patrick’s Day in Hermosa. We go to it all every year just like we walk the strand every fourth of July and venture onto the cold December sand for the Yuletide 5K. It’s tradition.
But, back to the summer fun. For many years, Labor Day Weekend has been about Fiesta Hermosa. It’s what you would expect from a Southern California fun extravaganza: cover bands, rides for the kids, lots of food and booth upon booth of “who buys this stuff?”
Navigating the throngs to check out the latest in bedazzled acid washed denim accessories is thirsty work. So, we’ve learned to arm ourselves with a little pink lemonade to keep up our hydration. I don’t know the company but they sell only lemonade and their stands are strategically placed throughout the experience. Four dollars for a coffee doesn’t seem so bad when you willingly shell out six bucks for a lemonade.
In honor of the capstone of summer parties in the South Bay, this week’s macaron pairs a lemon infused shell with raspberry buttercream.
In addition to using dried and ground teas to flavor macarons shells, I’ve also had surprising success with drying and then powdering citrus zest. The lemon comes through nicely without being acidic.
Pink Lemonade Macarons
for the shells
- 60 g almond flour
- 100 g confectioner’s sugar
- zest from one large or two small lemons, allowed to dry overnight on a paper towel
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 3 drops pink food coloring gel
- Preheat oven to 315 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. I like to draw the circles with Sharpie on a couple of pieces of parchment as a stencil. In order to use them multiple times I lay another piece of parchment over the top.
- Weigh and measure out all of your ingredients. When I’m making multiple batches I actually weigh out the almond flour, sugar and any other dry ingredients into separate zip-lock baggies and label them.
- In a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse together almond meal, lemon zest and confectioner’s sugar. Give it a few pulses then sift into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or an electric hand mixer), add the egg whites. Beat on medium low until frothy.
- Increase the speed and slowly add the granulated sugar and pinch of salt.
- Add-in your gel coloring if desired.
- Beat eggs until they form soft peaks.
- Working in three batches, add first portion of almond meal mixture to the egg-whites. Gently fold until just combined. Repeat with the additional two portions of meal folding to combine while using as few folds as possible.
- To test if the batter is ready to pipe, scoop about 1/4 tsp onto a flat surface. The batter should act like lava and spread enough to lose its peak but not its shape. I usually do this test several times starting at the point where everything is just combined. If you under-mix the batter you can always give it a few more folds. However, you are out of luck if you over mix. So, err on the side of multiple tests.
- When the batter is ready, pour it into your piping bag. To be honest, I don’t bother with a tip, I just snip the bag about an inch or so from the tip (eh…maybe a little less).
- Pipe your shells onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Allow to sit for 10-60 minutes or until the shells appear dry. I have found this process is heavily dependent on the weather. The more moisture in the air, the longer they need to sit.
- Working with one sheet at a time, bake for about 20 minutes. To test, gently grab one corner of the parchment and attempt to peel it from the shell. A clean peel means the shells are done. If they are sticky, back in the oven for another 5 minutes and test again.
- Let the shells cool but once cool, carefully remove from the parchment. I have found that you don’t want to let the cooled shells sit on the parchment.
for the filling
- 1/4 batch of this buttercream recipe
- 1/2 C raspberry jam at room temp
- Using the whisk attachment of a standing mixer or an electric hand-mixer, beat together the plain buttercream and raspberry preserves.
- If desired, chill for 15 minutes before filling macarons.