Preparing for a wedding is stressful. Even if ‘all’ you have to do is fill some macarons, write a speech, and give your sister away. Not as a gift you understand. Anyway…
With all the shells happily sitting in the freezer, the matter of the filling was being sorted. The blue ones (which had a few drops of strawberry flavouring) were to be filled with some kind of white chocolate-based excitement and the cream ones with a lemon curd butter-cream. We toyed with the idea of making a white chocolate ganache for the blue macarons but, partly due to time, partly due to not wanting an over-runny or over-thick ganache (and because ganache does have the tendency to ‘sweat’ when standing around), we decided to cheat and buy some white chocolate spread which, although obviously made for spreading on toast, even said on the label that it was ideal for filling cakes or similar baked goods. Perfect. Although Mum hasn’t quite forgiven me for making her go to ASDA to buy it. Deary me.
We had decided in advance not to attempt to fill the shells at Mum’s – there would be chaos in the forms of nieces and nephews as well as general pre-wedding madness which is not conducive to creating delicate French treats – instead we had elected to do the task at my mother-in-law’s house which would not only be calmer but was actually closer to the venue which made transporting them much simpler.
In the time since I was at home, Mum had made a couple of extra batches as promised and this was all dutifully packed in to a big box alongside icing sugar, butter, lemon curd, and the aforementioned white chocolate spread. A large pot of coffee was brewed, and we unpacked to survey our works. It looked rather daunting.
We hadn’t counted the shells at this stage – afterall, we had no idea how many would actually make the grade so instead we decided to make a load of butter-cream and make a start then see what we ended up with. Although quite my good lady-wife decided to mix 500g of icing sugar, 250g of butter, and a pot of lemon curd by hand is still something of a mystery…
How much filling to put in each one was also something that needed to be worked out. We didn’t want it to ooze down the sides but neither did we want it to be so small that no-one would taste it. The insides of some of the macarons were quite delicate and the white chocolate spread was a bit thick to start with so we had to be very careful and, in the end, it worked out at a generous teaspoon of filling for each with a bit more for some of the larger, flatter ones.
It was pretty time-consuming – after 3 hours we were only just over half-way through but the ones that were filled were looking pretty good.
There were of course, some casualties. A fair few of some of the more, ahem, interesting batches had become so fragile that although they may have looked great, there was little more than air and sticky filling in the middle and we ended up losing (and indeed scoffing) more than I’d originally thought. Although it should be pointed out that it was certainly not unexpected.
But, three pots of spread and the whole batch of butter-cream later (and several cups of coffee complimented by a couple of glasses of wine) we were finished and, after a final count, were the proud creators of 245 multi-coloured macarons.
Time for a sit down and some more wine….