Lemon and Poppyseed Macarons
More macarons! These are lemon and poppyseed, a typical Aussie flavour combination, one that I hadn’t heard of or tried until I came to Australia. And we have a friend, S who was so crazy about poppyseeds that she tried to use them in as many of her dishes as possible and she even used to sprinkle them over her salad I was intrigued at first because poppyseeds…. umm… aren’t they opium? And that’s exactly what my brother came over to exclaim when he saw me making these, “You’re feeding people opium?!!” Ok, yes, poppyseeds are from the opium poppy, but the drug opium is extracted from the unripe fruit and not the seeds, though it may be possible to find traces of opium alkaloids in any part of the plant. Well, no one I know has ever had any funny responses to my poppyseed baked goods!
Apart from trying to be more creative with my macaron experiments, I wanted to make these macarons for the mum of my best friend, M, whose birthday was last weekend. Auntie M (oh yeah they both have the same initial!) has been a second mum away from home for me. I spent countless holidays in Sydney with their family, and I even spent my 21st birthday with them, since I was away from home. And, Auntie M makes the best Indian food ever, hands down! I remember when Soy and I simply could not pry ourselves away from Auntie M‘s oven when she had some tandoori chicken cooking away inside, because it smelt so amazingly good. We were like kids, and Auntie M sneaked out some to us unbeknownst to the other dinner guests that night before plating it up. Hehe…
Since Auntie M likes citrusy flavours, and is not too big on cloying sweets, I was going for a light lemon macaron. And since I do need more macaron practice, I tried to think about combinations I could play around with and develop a filling for. Lemon and poppyseed just seemed like a natural option because I do love that combination, and I had made a lemon and poppyseed cake for Auntie M in the past, which she liked.
Having only played with ganache in my previous macarons, I also wanted to experiment with buttercream to see what that tastes like in a macaron. So I decided on a lemon Swiss meringue buttercream. And to add an extra lemon tang, a bit of lemon curd. Oooh, I was so excited at how (if it worked) all the elements were going to come together.
I loved the contrast of the slate blue poppyseeds against the pale yellow macaron shells.
Piping the filling needed a little bit of ingenuity. Initially I piped the buttercream and topped it off with a bit of lemon curd. But the curd sort of spilt off over the sides and looked messy and frankly, quite unbecoming of a delicate macaron. What followed was a bit of experimenting with various tools, including a turkey baster (!), but eventually I finally managed to get the lemon curd into the centre of the buttercream filling
And voilà! I must say that I was really happy with how these lemon and poppyseed macarons turned out. All the elements came through with every bite. The lemon buttercream was just the right creamy texture, with lemony goodness that was still delicate and not overpowering. And the lemon curd gave the macaron an extra tangy flavour that sort of exploded in your mouth. Topped off with the crunch of the poppyseeds and the chewiness of the meringue, each bite was a texture and flavour sensation! I must say though, that I still prefer ganache as a macaron filling. There’s a smoothness and depth that is different from buttercream, though I think if you are a fan of cream in general (which I’m not, really) then you will definitely love the buttercream filling too.
And so I happily boxed up these little babies and I’m so glad that Auntie M (and the rest of the family too) loved these! There’s nothing more satisfying for me than baking for people and them really enjoying what I’ve put together.
You can find the basic macaron recipe that I use here. I’m going to hold on to the recipe for my lemon and poppyseed filling for a while longer, for something very exciting that I’m going to share with you- I’ve gotten many people asking if they can buy my macarons, and people requesting for macaron making lessons. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do either so Soy and I are toying with the idea of writing a comprehensive macaron guide for failproof macarons that people can download and use over and over again. We’re still brainstorming, so stay tuned!And if you have any ideas or suggestions, please write us a comment or drop us an email.
In other news, I’m starting a new job today! Wish me luck!