A sherbet hit gives a playful fruit burst in this dainty dish of purple macaroons with a lemon sponge, flavored with grown-up limoncello.
Equipment and preparation: you will need a tray of silicone round molds, each 4cm/1.5in diameter, a food processor, a free-standing food mixer with a whisk attachment, and a piping bag with a small round nozzle.
For the macaroon shells
- 85g/3oz ground almonds
- 120g/4oz icing sugar
- 2 free-range egg whites
- pinch salt
- 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
- purple food colouring gel
For the lemon sponges
- 50g/1¾oz melted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 50g/1¾oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 free-range egg
- 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
- ½ lemon, zest, and juice
- ⅓ tsp baking powder
- 100ml/3½fl oz limoncello liquor
For the lemon sugar syrup
- 75ml/2½fl oz lemon juice
- 75g/2½oz caster sugar
For the blueberry gel
- 250g/9oz blueberries
- 1 heaped tsp agar-agar flakes
- few drops of lemon juice
For the sherbet
- 5-7 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp citric acid
- few drops purple food colouring
- 100ml/3½fl oz double cream, whipped to soft peaks
- To make the macaroon shells, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a baking tray with a sheet of silicone paper. Mark out rounds of 4cm/1.5in diameter on the reverse side of the paper with a pencil and set to one side.
- Pulse the almonds with the icing sugar in a food processor and then pass through a sieve to get rid of any larger bits of almond. Put the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a free-standing food mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk until frothy, then gradually add the caster sugar a little a time, whisking in between each addition, until the whites are glossy and have firm peaks when the whisk is removed.
- Towards the end of the whisking, add a few drops of food color and then add the egg whites to the icing sugar and almonds. Mix until combined and so that the mixture falls off a spatula in ribbons. Put the mixture into a piping bag which has a small round nozzle attached, no bigger than 1cm/½in in diameter. Pipe the mixture onto the tray in circles and leave to set for around 15 minutes.
- Bake the macaroon shells for 12-15 minutes, until the shells peel off the paper easily. Leave them to cool on a wire rack.
- For the lemon sponges, increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C (fan)/Gas 6. Grease the silicone molds with melted butter, then dust with flour and set to one side.
- Whisk together the egg with the sugar in a bowl until pale and frothy. Add the butter, flour, lemon zest and juice, and baking powder and mix well until combined. Rest the batter for 20-30 minutes before pouring into the molds and baking for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from the molds and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Dip each sponge into the limoncello and set it to one side.
- For the lemon sugar syrup, place the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 4-5 minutes, or until thickened and syrupy. Remove from the heat and set to one side until cool.
- To make the blueberry gel, place the blueberries into a food processor and blend into a purée. Sieve the purée into a saucepan to remove the skins and pips. Sprinkle the agar-agar flakes over the purée and place on the heat without stirring.
- Once the mixture has heated through, stir and keep on the heat for 3-5 minutes. Pour into a cling film-lined cake tin and put into the fridge until set – around 30 minutes. Once set, break the jelly into pieces and put it into the food processor with a few drops of lemon juice, and blend until smooth and is a gel consistency. Transfer into a piping bag and keep cool until needed.
- For the sherbet, mix together five teaspoons of sugar, which is even throughout. Taste to ensure that the sherbet is not too sour and add more sugar, to taste.
- To assemble, brush a little of the lemon sugar syrup on the edges only of the sponges and then roll the edges in the sherbet. Scoop out a little hole in the top of the sponge, making sure not to go too deep, and through the bottom of the sponge. Pipe a small blob of the blueberry gel in the hole. Place the whipped cream in another piping bag and pipe a small blob of cream on each sponge making sure to hide the hole and its contents.