BLACKBERRY MACARONS WITH BLACKBERRY BUTTERCREAM AND LIME CURD
Spring is upon us in full form and berries are also starting to show at our local farmer’s markets. My family loves berries, any kind of berries. We are a very berry loving family! When I was approached by Oregon Berries, to work on recipe development with the frozen berries from Oregon, I was stoked! I knew I would have fun developing a recipe with blackberries!
WHY OREGON FOR BERRIES?
Oregon was made for growing blackberries. From the dedication and hard work of their multi-generational family farms, to the optimal climate, clean air, fresh water, and rich soil of the Willamette Valley, Oregon grows some of the best tasting blackberries on earth. Their blackberries are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen within 24 hours to lock in great taste, color, and nutrition, and are available year-round. The Harvest season is from July to September.
Oregon also ranks number one in the United States in frozen blackberry, Marionberry, and black raspberry production, and is a top 5 producer of frozen red raspberries and boysenberries. Did you know that more than 90% of the US grown, frozen blackberries, you find in the grocery stores are from Oregon? Perfectly preserved and picked at the peak ripeness, frozen Oregon berries transform savory and sweet dishes alike, and add full, sweet berry flavor to every smooth, salad, scones and more!
The berries are grown in the right place. The West Coast marine climate ensures Oregon berries ripen to a superior taste in the fields, as nature intended. The clean air, fertile soils, Cascade Mountain waters, warm days and cool nights allow the berries to ripen slowly, for the natural sugars to fully develop, giving each berry its best flavor. Having frozen berries means that you can have berries all year round, they have a long shelf life and consistent quality and price always! Oregon berry growers give their experience, care, knowledge and hard work to each and every harvest. They are the reason you can find Oregon’s best berries in your grocery store year-round, for that taste of summer any time you need it.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE BERRIES?
There are several nationally distributed brands – look for Townsend Farms, Columbia Fruit, or Stahlbush Island Farms. You can even find a store near you using the zip code search here: https://www.stahlbush.com/store-locator/
THE RECIPE AND WHAT MAKES THESE MACARONS SPECIAL:
I came up with a recipe to make Blackberry Macarons with a Blackberry and Star Anise Buttercream and Lime Curd in the middle. The star of these macarons is of course the Buttercream. The buttercream starts off with a very delicious, sweet, and flavorful Blackberry and Star Anise Jam. Blackberries are very sweet on their own, and when added with a lime or a lemon, some acid, it offers the perfect zing to the jam! This is a quick jam made with blackberries, lime zest and juice, sugar, pectin and star anise. I love the combination of blackberries and star anise and the licorice flavor that the star anise imparts to the jam itself. The jam comes together very quickly. You can use fresh or frozen blackberries – both will work here. The jam is not hard like the store-bought jams. It is fresh, and has a nice consistency once it is set, and spreads beautifully on a buttered toast as well.
We love the jam by itself, but it also makes for a stellar buttercream. The beautiful magenta color that the blackberries imparts to the jam is simple gorgeous! I want to slather that buttercream on cookies too! It is THAT good!
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING MACARONS:
The ingredients required for making macarons is very simple. There are few of them:
- Almond flour : Always use finely ground almond flour with the skin. Do NOT use almond meal. Because almond meal still has the skin on. This will not work. I use Blue Diamond brand of almond flour for my macarons. The quality if superior and fine as well, perfect for making macarons.
- Egg whites: Use room temperature egg whites always. You can even use a few day-old egg whites. I have tried fresh as well as a few day-old egg whites, and it both works. Just bring them to room temperature.
- Granulated Sugar: This is used for making the meringue first. I use the French method of making macarons, so a swiss meringue is required, where you beat the granulated sugar and egg whites till it forms stiff peaks.
- Cream of tartar: This helps in holding the structure of the meringue. Just a pinch is required.
- Confectioner’s sugar: This is mixed along with the almond flour at the beginning to form a fine texture, by blitzing in the food processor to ensure that there are no lumps in the mixture. It needs to be smooth.
- Vanilla extract: I add a bit for good taste in the macaron shells.
HOW TO MAKE 2 COLOR MACARON SHELLS?
Once the almond-confectioner’s sugar mixture is folded into the meringue, I do not fold it all the way through, but just until I cannot see the dry bits of the flour mixture. Then I divide them equally into 2 bowls. Add desired colors to both bowls. Use separate spatulas and mix them individually just like you would normal macarons, in the macaronnage stage, where you fold the batter in one direction and press against the wall of the bowl to remove any air. Repeat in the same direction, until the batter forms a figure 8, when the batter is thrown from 2-3 inches high. The batter should settle in within 15 seconds. That is when you know your batter is ready to pipe.
Put them into individual pastry bags, and pipe the separate colors, separately. Two colored shells look fun, pretty and festive, representing the colors of the macarons, in my case they represent blackberries and lime!
DECORATING THE MACARONS:
I was planning to use royal icing and make little blackberries on each macaron shell. But then I went with something a bit more abstract. What happens when you drop a ripened blackberry on the floor? There is a splatter and there is color everywhere! That is what I represented on the shell! I simply used a Deep Pink and Violet color, mixed in with a little vodka separately. Using separate brushes I splattered the macarons with the paint! That was really fun!
TIPS FOR MAKING FANTASTIC MACARONS:
I have been making macarons for many years now, and each time I learn something new. It is amazing how the learning process never ends. Some tips are as follows:
- Use silicone mats for the macarons. They turn out perfect every single time. I think it is a good investment, and you are not wasting ingredients to make them again, in case they do not turn out properly. I bought mine from Amazon. You get mats specific for macarons so a template is not required in that case.
- Follow the measurements and instructions to the T. Do not skimp, or skip any instructions. I cannot stress this enough!
- Meringue should form a peak, that slightly bends. That is when you know your meringue is done.
- Fold the flour into the meringue mixture in one direction. Fold and press against the wall, fold and press against the wall. It is some arm work but that is the key to ensuring the batter is the right consistency.
- Know your oven. Bake times may vary depending upon the oven, shell size etc. The shells in this recipe are 1 ½ inches wide in diameter and they took me 14 minutes in the oven.
- Do not be in a hurry to remove them off the mat. Let them cool completely, so that they come off nicely.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH EGG YOLKS LEFT OVER FROM THE EGGS?
I hate wastage of any kind. So when making macarons, I always save the egg yolks and freeze them, if I know I will not be using it within a day. The egg yolks have several uses!
- Make curd! Any citrus or fruity curd!
- Make custard for ice cream base, and make ice cream to make, to use between the macaron shells and Ice cream Macaron Sandwiches are fantastic!
- Make crème brulee.
- Make pot de crème.
There are several ways to use up the egg yolks. Do not throw them!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Thanks to Oregon Berries for sponsoring this post!