3 cups almond flour
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
7 to 8 grams gel food coloring in the color of your choice
7 large egg whites, preferably "aged" (see Cook's Note)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
A squirt of lemon juice
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
12 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup seedless blackberry jam
2 pints blackberries
1 pint raspberries
For the macaron cake layers: Fit a large pastry bag with a large open pastry tip. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment. Using a 9-inch cake pan and a Sharpie, trace around the cake pan to create a 9-inch circle on each piece of parchment. Using a 6-inch cake pan and a Sharpie, trace around the cake pan to create a 6-inch circle next to the 9-inch circle on each piece of parchment; flip the parchment pieces over so the ink is facing down but you can still see the outline of the circles. Set aside.
Sift together the almond flour and confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the food coloring and 2 tablespoons of the egg whites but do not stir. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the salt and remaining egg whites and give it a quick stir. Set aside.
In a saucepan, add the lemon juice and 1/3 cup water, then the granulated sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently and brushing down any sugar granules that are clinging to the side of the pan with a damp pastry brush, until the sugar has completely melted. Continue to heat, without stirring or agitating the mixture, until the syrup reaches 235 degrees F. Then, start the mixer with the egg whites on high. Continue to heat the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches a final temperature of 245 degrees F. At this point, make sure the egg whites are nice and foamy, then carefully pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl, being careful not to pour it on the moving whisk (DANGER!). Whisk on high until the whites are bright white and shiny but not yet holding a stiff peak.
Add the meringue to the bowl with the confectioners' sugar and almond flour and fold together until the batter is smooth, the consistency of ketchup and shiny.
Transfer the meringue batter to the prepared pastry bag. On one of the 9-inch circles, pipe the batter in a spiral just large enough to fill the circle by starting in the very center and piping tight circles to the edge of the outline. Pipe the batter in the 6-inch circle in the same manner. Repeat with the remaining circles on each sheet pan. If you have additional batter, pipe quarter-size dollops or hearts on the empty spaces on the sheet pans. Gently tap the sheet pans on a work surface a few times to release any air bubbles and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to form a "skin."
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Bake the macaron shells, opening the oven door during baking very quickly once or twice if it's very humid to allow moisture to escape, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the shells to cool completely before filling.
For the German buttercream: Combine the egg yolks, granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until smooth.
In a large saucepan, bring the heavy cream and milk to a simmer.
With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the hot cream/milk mixture to the bowl by pouring it down the side and into the egg yolk mixture, mixing to completely combine. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and heat, whisking CONSTANTLY over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the hot pastry cream to the CLEAN bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a CLEAN whisk attachment and mix until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, whisking between each addition. Continue adding and whisking until the mixture thickens and has transformed into a spreadable filling. You may not need the entire pound of butter.
Remove a third of the filling to a small bowl and stir in the lemon extract. In the remaining buttercream in the mixing bowl, add the blackberry jam and mix until smooth and combined. Transfer the fillings to separate large pastry bags fitted with large open star tips.
On the flat side of one of the large macaron rounds, arrange blackberries around the perimeter, leaving about 1/2 inch of space between each. Evenly space more blackberries in the center. Pipe the blackberry buttercream around the blackberries. Top with a second large macaron round and repeat with the remaining blackberries and buttercream. Top with the third large macaron round. Repeat with the smaller macaron rounds, using the raspberries and lemon buttercream.
Stack the smaller round on top of the larger one, or use a tiered cake stand to separate the two layers.
It's best to use "aged" egg whites in this recipe. To do this, separate the eggs, put the whites in a bowl, cover with a paper towel and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using. Refrigerate the egg yolks in a container with a lid and reserve for the buttercream.
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