Lemon and poppy seed is one of my favorite flavors for spring! These French macarons have a poppy seed shell and are filled with light, tangy homemade lemon curd! My least favorite part of making macarons is that I always end up with extra egg yolks. But for these lemon poppy seed macarons, you need three egg whites for the macaron shells and three egg yolks for the lemon curd! A match made in heaven!
french macaron tips & tricks
Making macarons from scratch can be tough so setting yourself up for success is key!
- Buy a kitchen scale* if you don’t already have one! Macarons are incredibly finicky, so weighing all your ingredients is super important!
- Clean the mixing bowl and whisk attachment of your stand mixer with a dab of lemon juice to make sure there are no trace fats on either (if you don’t, your meringue may not form).
- Invest in some silicone macaron mats*! They aren’t expensive and they will make your life so much easier!
- Also invest in an oven thermometer*! We want our oven as close to 300 degrees as possible to make perfect macarons but just because your oven says it’s 300 degrees, doesn’t mean it actually is. My oven tends to run hot, so I usually end up having it set to about 290.
special ingredient notes
- Egg Whites - I've recently started "aging" my egg whites and I've found it helps with my consistency. This is absolutely not necessary, but it's super easy to do so I recommend trying it out. Weigh out 100 grams of egg whites into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours but up to 3 days. Make sure to remove the egg whites from the fridge at least an hour before making the macarons so they can come up to room temperature.
- Almond Flour - If you've ever seen macarons that look bumpy, it's usually because the almond flour isn't ground finely enough. I love Bob's Red Mill for my almond flour because it's usually fine enough. But if you have lumpy almond flour you can also just pulse it in a food processor for a few seconds to break it up further. Sifting your dry ingredients is also super important for ensuring smooth macarons.
Homemade Lemon Curd
Homemade lemon curd is surprisingly easy to make! You just need a couple tools to set you up for success.
- Double boiler - A double boiler is necessary to ensure that the egg yolks cook slowly and evenly because no one wants chunks of scrambled egg in your lemon curd. You can buy a double boiler but it's super easy to just fashion one yourself. To make a double boiler, simmer 1-2 inches of water in a small saucepan until it's steaming. Then place a heavy bowl (I prefer glass bowls but stainless works too) on top that's large enough to not touch the water, but not so big that it won't sit on top. That's it! Just be sure to periodically check to make sure there is still water in the bottom saucepan because you don't want it to all evaporate.
- Silicone whisk - I prefer using silicone and glass as opposed to metal when cooking with acidic ingredients like lemon so that you don't end up with a slightly metallic taste.
- Fine mesh strainer - You always want to pass the lemon curd through a strainer to make sure to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked unevenly.
I also strongly recommend that you use fresh lemon juice (as opposed to bottled) and it will give you the best flavor!
More Macaron Recipes
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Lemon Poppy Seed Macarons
- 3 large egg yolks
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 61 grams lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- pinch salt
- 57 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- I recommend making the lemon curd the night before you make the macarons so that it has time to fully cool.
- Create a double boiler by bringing 1-2 inches of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Place a heatproof glass bowl on top and make sure it's not touching the water.
- Add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt into the top of your double boiler. Whisk until completely combined and then continue to whisk as the lemon curd cooks (constant whisking prevents the lemon curd from curdling). Continue to whisk the lemon curd for 10-15 minutes or until it become thick and paler in color (it should be similar to the consistency of hollandaise sauce). If the lemon curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.
- Once thickened, remove the glass bowl from the heat. Cut the butter into chunks and whisk into the lemon curd until fully combined and smooth. If desire, pass through fine mesh strainer and then pour into a glass jar. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and store in the fridge.
- Sift together almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Then gently stir in the poppy seeds and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until they become foamy, then add in the cream of tartar. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and gradually add in the granulated sugar (make sure to add the sugar in very slowly so that the meringue doesn’t deflate). Once all the sugar is added, turn the mixer to the highest setting and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
- Using a spatula, gently fold in half of the dry ingredient mixture until fully combined. Then gently fold in the remaining dry ingredients. Continue to gently fold the batter until it reaches a “flowing lava” consistency. You should be able to make a “figure 8” with the batter before it breaks. As soon as you reach this consistency, stop mixing! If you over-mix the batter, the macarons won’t rise properly in the oven.
- Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Scoop batter into a large piping bag fitted with a round tip. Hold the piping bag perpendicular to the silicone mat and pipe 1 inch rounds. Pick up the baking sheet and drop it onto the counter 3-4 times to help bring any air bubbles to the surface of the macarons. Then use a toothpick to pop any visible air bubbles to make a smooth surface.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes or until a skin forms on the surface. You should be able to lightly touch the surface without any batter being disturbed.
- While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Bake one sheet at a time on the center rack of the oven for 15 minutes or when they do not move on their “feet” when touched.
- Let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet before removing them. They should easily peel off when fully cooled. Match up your shells before filling, and then turn one side over.
- Pipe the cooled lemon curd in the center of the shell, leaving a little bit of room on the sides. Then top with the other shell.
- Put the assembled macarons in an airtight container, then place them in the fridge for mature for 12-24 hours before eating for the best taste/texture. Or just eat them all immediately. You do you.