Learn how to bake Yuzu & Sansho Pepper Macarons - the perfect accompaniment to an Aranami Dry Martini.
I spent part of lockdown last year trying to master macarons (baking was one of a few hobbies I took up during lockdown), experimenting with a plethora of flavours. I thought it would be a good idea to make macarons which would complement my Aranami Strength gin, and came up with the perfect recipe: yuzu macarons with a lemon zest, yuzu juice and sansho pepper buttercream, and they're possibly the best I made.
They're crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, with a deliciously tangy and creamy buttercream with the lemony sansho pepper playing havoc with your tastebuds.
These macarons pair incredibly well with an Aranami Strength Dry Martini with just a rinse of Mancino Sakura Vermouth, and what a cracking combination, if I do say so myself.
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Making macarons isn't easy, it requires focus and attention, and most of all, patience, but oh-so satisfying when you get them right! So perhaps you'd be up for a challenge and like to try your hand at these? I can't guarantee they will come out perfectly the first time, but part of the process is failing so you can learn from it and understand what went wrong, in order to improve, so long as you follow the steps and don't go off-piste (which is what I tend to do).
See recipe and tips below.
Ingredients & Tools
Ingredients for the Macaron Shells
• 55g Ground Almonds
• 80g Icing Sugar
• 47g Egg White
• 30g Caster Sugar
• 1tbsp Yuzu Powder (Optional)
• Yellow Gel Foodcolouring (I mixed Lime with Yellow to get a Lemon Colour)
• Tiny pinch of Cream of Tartar
• Tiny pinch of Salt
Ingredients for the Buttercream
• 50g Butter
• 50g Icing Sugar
• Zest of Half a Lemon
• 15ml of Yuzu Juice
• Ground Sansho Pepper (to taste)
• Piping Bags
• Electronic Scales
• Mixing Bowls x 2
• Electric Whisk
• Silicone Spatula
• Baking Parchment
• Conventional Oven
1 - Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (They say macarons should be baked between 140-150 degrees but it can all be dependent on your oven, try 145 if you can first).
2 - Sieve your ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl, add the yuzu powder if you have it.
3 - In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until it gets foamy, then add some of the sugar, and cream of tartar, and salt and carry on whisking, adding the rest of the sugar as you go along. Then add the gel food colouring - be careful not to add too much or this can spoil the macarons.
4 - Once your meringue has stiff peaks, add in the dry mix to the bowl, and fold the two together with the silicone spatula - this is known as the macronage stage. I would highly recommend watching a video on how to do this, as this stage is pretty critical. You want to beat out a lot of the air but not all of it, keep folding and turning the bowl until the mixture is homogeneous and looks like lava. To test this, you should be able to make a figure of 8 in the mix with the spatula without the mix breaking, and it should fall and slowly sink back in. This is probably the trickiest part and you don't want to under or overdo it either.
5 - Once your mixture has been macronaged, fill a piping bag and on baking parchment on a baking tray, while keeping the piping bag perpendicular, pipe small 1.5 inch in diametre circles, ensuring you leave 1.5-2 inches of space between each one. Tip: To stop the baking parchment from moving, dab a bit of the mixture in all four corners of the metal baking tray and the parchment should stick to it.
6 - You now need to get rid of the excess air from the macarons, so this is where you bang the tray on the tabletop a few times to release any bubbles (and to reduce the appearance of "nipples"). Then leave to rest for 30mins to an hour until they've formed a skin (dry to the touch and have lost their stickiness).
7 - Bake them in the oven in the middle shelf for 15 minutes, turning the baking tray around halfway to ensure even baking. Tip: Essentially you want to dry these macarons out as much as possible as opposed to baking them at a high temperature and browning them, so you want to get rid of excess moisture, so put a wooden spoon in the oven door so it's left ajar in order to let any steam out.
8 - While these are baking, it's time to make the buttercream. Cream the butter with an electric whisk, add the icing sugar, yuzu juice, lemon zest and sansho pepper, and carry on whisking until you get a delicious buttercream texture.
9 - Take the macarons out from the oven and wait for them to cool completely. Don't be tempted to pull any off the baking parchment or the bottoms will break.
10 - With any luck, the macarons will have formed "feet" (also known as pied) - these are the ruffles you see at the base of the shell which is a classic feature of a macaron. Hopefully, you will have achieved smooth tops and bottoms too. If not, don't be disheartened as this isn't easy to get right the first time, keep trying as it's incredibly satisfying when you finally get it right!
11 - Finally, match up the marcon shell sizes in pairs, fill them with buttercream and put them in the fridge. They say macarons taste best after being in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to mingle, but I think they also taste fantastic freshly made, and these ones especially, with an Aranami Strength Gin Dry Martini.
Good luck and let me know how they turned out!
- Jenny, Creator