For the macarons
3 egg whites apx 100g
3 tbsp caster sugar
110g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder/egg white powder
1/8 tsp almond essence
Purple gel food colouring
For the blueberry and lime curd
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
60g unsalted butter cubed
100g or scant 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, or 2 yolks and 1 egg, beaten
2 limes, zest and juice
Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine ground almonds with the icing sugar and run through a food processor to ensure both are finely ground. Set aside. ‘Age’ egg whites by microwaving them for 20 seconds. Place into a mixing bowl and add the meringue powder. Whisk to frothy peaks with an egg beater. Once voluminous, add the caster sugar gradually, beating well between each, until stiff peak stage.
Switch to a spatula, add almond extract and a dollop of the food colouring gel. Sift half the icing sugar/almond mixture on top and gently fold in using the spatula. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar/almond mixture and continue carefully folding it in until batter looks smooth.
To test consistency, lift the spatula up and watch to see how the trail of batter running off it falls into the bowl. A soft trail that takes five or six seconds to ‘melt’ back into the batter is ideal. If it just sits on top, it’s not ready. Overmixing can yield thin batter that won’t hold its shape when piping.
Fit a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill with the batter. Pipe 3cm wide rounds of batter on the baking sheets, leaving a small space between each. Lift and drop baking sheets onto the bench a few times to knock out any air bubbles and to level them into smooth discs. Leave for up to two hours until they form a skin.
Place them into an oven preheated to 140 degrees C and cook for 18-20 minutes, ensuring they have risen and have their characteristic macaron ‘frill’. When ready they should be firm on their frilly bases. When ready they should lift off the parchment and have a smooth base.
Place the blackberries in a jug with a half teaspoon of water and microwave for about a minute on high until bubbling. Blitz cooked blackberries to a fine liquid then stir in the lime juice to cool it. Set aside.
Place butter in a bowl over a barely simmering pan of water, not letting the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Once it begins to melt, stir in the caster sugar and continue to cook over low heat until the sugar melts into the butter and loses its grainy appearance.
Stir in the blackberry/lime juice mixture. Add the beaten eggs, lime zest and beat. Gently cook the curd for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly until thick.
Pass the curd through a sieve to remove and lumps and zest and pour into a hot, clean jar. Put the lid on and allow to cool completely. Pair up the macarons with a dollop of the cooled curd in between each pair. Enjoy.