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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake Macarons

Winter is the time where we have more lemons than opportunities to use them. Our house is full with lemons collected from S’mom. She grew the juiciest lemon ever. We don’t know what kind of lemon it is. It has thin skin and full of juice, which makes them perfect for making lemon curd and baking.

I’m not complaining for having lots of lemons. You can never have too many, really. They are versatile in baking and cooking and we are fond of them. They are good with roasted chicken, pasta, custard flavouring, tarts, drinks and the list can go on and on. And if all else fails, we can always turn them into lemonade. 

Among our many favourite lemon dishes, lemon curd is on the very top. I love them as is, as tart filling, and of course, with macarons. It was one of the first macaron flavours I made and love. Not only its tartness and zing complement the sweet delicate macaron shell well, it is also a perfect way to use the leftover egg yolks.

Lemon cheesecake is the dessert that I love and wanted to incorporate into the macaron flavour. I made the blueberry cheesecake macaron a while back and loved it a lot. Instead of using just lemon juice and zest for cheesecake, I mixed lemon curd with cream cheese and thickened cream to create the lemon cheesecake filling. I also included a small sheet of gelatin to help with the setting.

The flavour worked well with the macarons. Lemon curd and cream cheese contributed to slight tartness and creaminess. It is a wonderful alternative lemon filling if you prefer only slight zing with lemon macarons.

Because the filling was rather moist, it made the macarons soft and delicate. It also made the macaron shells gone soft sooner. If I were to do this filling again, I would only fill the macaron a day or night before serving. It would have been nicer to maintain the thin crisp shell texture.   
Note: macarons are usually kept well for few days, if not more. However, with this filling, I found them to be soft after a day or two.

Lemon Cheesecake Macarons Recipe
Make about 25 3-cm macarons

More details on Basic Mararons using Italian Meringue techniques can be found here.

You can also see more detailed intructions on making macarons in my Basic Macaron Recipe and I heart Macarons blogs (however, they are recipes using French meringue method. Most of the processes are similar between Italian’s and French’s. The only difference is the handling of sugar and egg white).

Macarons shell ingredients

125 g pure icing sugar
125 g almond meal (almond flour or ground almond)
100 g egg whites (separated 24 -48 hours in advance and is at room temperature)
125 g caster sugar (super fine sugar)
30 ml water (2 tablespoons)
Yellow colouring powder or liquid

Lemon cheesecake filling
1/2 cup Lemon curd (store-bought or make your own using the recipe in this post)
70 ml thickened cream (minimum 35% fat content)
100 g cream cheese
20 g sugar

1 small sheet gelatin or half a big sheet

Making macarons shells

Sift almond meal and icing sugar together through fine sieve and set aside.

Divide egg whites into two equal portions (50 g each portion).  Pour the first portion of egg white (50 g) and yellow colouring powder into the almond meal/icing sugar mixture.  Don’t mix or stir them, just leave it as is.

Put the water and caster sugar in a heavy-base saucepan over medium-high heat. When the syrup start to boil. Place the rest of egg white (50 g) into a mixing bowl, using the whip attachment, whip egg white to the soft peak. When the syrup reaches 118°C (on a thermometer), take if off the heat and let it cool down to 115°C (or until the bubbles subside).

With the mixer is still running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Be careful not to pour syrup onto the whip as it might spatter. 

Continue mixing until the meringue cool down to slightly above body temperature (50°C) or when the side of the mixing bowl is warm to touch. The whipped egg white will be (very) stiff and glossy.

Mix a third of whipped egg white into the almond meal mixture and combine them well. At this step, I work the mixture very vigorously to blend the egg white with almond meal mixture. Fold the rest of whipped egg white into the mixture and mix well, yet gently, until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thick. It resembles a very thick cake batter, or as many web sites describe it as a magma-like consistency (I believe it means the thick batter would flow slowly like a magma).

Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain tip (size #11). Pipe the staggering rows of 1-inch rounds onto baking papers or baking sheets. You will need two trays for this recipe.

Let the piped shells stand at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes to let the crust forms. This depends on the room temperature and humidity. When the piped shells are dry to touch without it sticking to your fingers. They are good to go into the oven.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan-force or convection oven, increase the temperature by 20°C if you’re using conventional oven) for at least 15 minutes. Just before baking, turn the temperature down to 150°C and bake the macarons for 15 minutes.

Lift the baking papers/sheets off the baking tray to the cooling rack and let it completely cool down before removing macarons (it is easier to remove cool macarons off the sheet. They are also less likely to stick to the paper). 

Sandwich cool macarons shell with lemon cheesecake filling.

Store macarons in airtight container in the fridge. Macarons will taste better after they are chilled overnight.

Making Lemon Cheesecake filling

Hydrate gelatin sheet by submerge it in bowl of cold water. Set aside for about 5 -10 minutes until the sheet is soft. 

Warm lemon curd slightly in microwave (about 20 seconds). Squeeze the water out of the gelatin sheet and mix into lemon curd (gelatin need to be dissolved entirely in warm liquid). Set aside. 

Whip thickened cream until it achieves whipped cream texture. Set aside and chill until ready to use. 

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy (on medium-high speed for few minutes). Put lemon curd mixture into the cream cheese and mix until well-combined.  

Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese and lemon curd mixture. Mix well.

Chill the cream cheese filling about 30 minutes before using. 

Submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Huan at Eat.Read.Live.


  1. Awsome! so you own the "I 'heart' macarons" book by Hisako Ogita too?

    Gosh, I've only started out and have failed like 5 times out of 6. How many attempts did it take you to get good macarons?

  2. Hi kaze,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I think by third attempt, my macarons were much better. However, there were also times when the macarons acted diva like, and didn't turn out well.

    I made macarons every weeks for about 2-3 months and that helped a lot. Practices really made perfect. So, keep at it and keep trying. Also, try Italian method, it delivers better and reliable macarons.


  3. Wow! Thats a long time. I'll try the italian method as soon as I can get my hands on a thermometer.

    By the way, I managed to finaly get 'feet' with your method on French meringue mentioned in your 'basic macaron reipe - French meringue method'post. Part of that was also due to the temperature of the air though too. So thanks muchly.

    These links are to my blog.
    This one has the succession to the feet:

    While this one show the failures I got:

    I would be really happy if you could check out either one. I would also be estatically happy if you could leave a comment too.

    Thanks muchely, Sue! I'll be sure to try out the recipes on your blog too!

  4. Great to hear. Congratulations! I understand the feeling that one finally got the successes on macarons. I still jump with joys when my macs came out beautiful (even though I haven't had failed macs for a long while).

    Will definitely check out your blog. Thanks for sharing the results with happy for you:)


  5. Sue,
    LOVE your blog absolutely felt in love with it 3 days ago that i found it... i am too and obsessed macaron baker! and i have to tell you i love making those little divas! (liked that you called them like that...they totally are) i just have a quick question... is it possible to make your recipes in the french way? i want to make some for a dinner i have.. but so far i only master the french method... (by the way..can't wait to try the italian!)

    thanks for having this amazing blog and for sharing your tips, thoughts, pictures and recipes

    looking forward to reading new stuff!



  6. I'm glad you like the blog, Monica.

    Welcome to the club of Macaron afficionado too:)

    Yes, this recipe will work for French techinique too.You can make the shell by following your normal recipe/method or using the French recipe in this blog (it should be the second one on the top ten post). Then, you can use this lemon cheesecake filling from this post.

    Note, though, that the lemon filling is quite moist. I would only fill the macaron about 4 - 12 hours before serving.