For the Lime Curd
Using an orange juicer, extract the juice from the limes, to yield ½ cup of lime juice. Add the lime juice along with ¼ cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan on medium heat. Keep stirring. Let it warm up.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar, beat it with a whisk vigorously one direction until the color is pale yellow and the mixture is ribbon-like in consistency and flow.
When the juice mixture is warm add about ¼ cup to the egg yolk mixture and whisk to temper the yolks. Add the entire yolk mixture into the juice over the saucepan, and keep stirring continuously. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture continuously for 8-10 minutes. It will thicken as you keep stirring. Remove from the heat.
Add the unsalted butter and whisk until combined and the mixture is smooth and silky in texture. Add the vanilla bean paste, stir to combine. Cover with a plastic wrap so that it does not form a film on the top. Store the lime curd in the fridge to cool.
Once cooled after 3 to 4 hours, it will be firm in consistency. Using a rubber spatula, remove into a glass jar, seal and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
For the Blackberry & Star Anise Jam
In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add all the ingredients and mix it all together with a rubber spatula. If the blackberries are frozen, they will start thawing with the heat. Keep mixing for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar melts. Cook for about 2 more minutes, then using a masher, mash the berries.
Let the mixture cook for a total of 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. After 15 minutes, switch off the stove. Wait for 3 minutes. Run the spatula on the top of the jam, if it settles on the spatula, you know the jam is set.
Remove the star anise from the jam. Pour the jam into the bottles, invert the bottles, down and up quickly, and let it cool outside for 2 hours. Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
For the Macaron Shells
Preheat oven to 310° F. Line baking sheets with the paper templates, and top with the parchment paper.
In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the confectioner’s sugar with the almond flour, until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture four times into a large bowl. Set aside.
To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrap down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form for at least 5-7 minutes. You can remove and turn the whisk upside down and the meringue should hold.
To complete the macaronage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until it is JUST mixed. Now divide the mixture into 2 bowls. Add neon green color in one bowl – about 3 drops, and violet/purple color in the other bowl – about 3 drops.
Use separate spatulas for each bowl. Now using the green bowl, using a circular motion in one direction, fold the mixture to incorporate the color. Press the mixture against the bowl to remove any air as you go in a circular motion. Keep repeating this form/action until you can form a figure 8 with the batter. The batter should flow like a smooth ribbon. Do NOT over mix else your macaron shells will not form well. The consistency should be right. When you form the figure 8 from 2 inches above the batter, the batter should subside and blend with the batter in the bowl. That is when you know your consistency is correct. Repeat this step for the purple bowl as well with a separate spatula.
Trace 1½ inch rounds with a pencil on two parchment papers, that are an inch apart. Place parchment on the baking sheets, and place the silicone mat on the parchment paper. Transfer each batter into a pastry bag filled with the Ateco #803 plain round tip, and pipe rounds within the circle on the parchment-silicone lined baking sheets. Gentle tap each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Do this step at least 10 times. Using a tooth pick, pop any bubbles that may be on the surface of the macarons and blend the batter such that it smooths out on the top of the macaron. Let stand at room temperature for 40 minutes at least. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 17 to 18 minutes.
Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
◦ If you are baking macarons in the winter (or in a more humid climate), allow for at least an hour rest time, because of the added moisture in the air.
For the Blackberry and Star Anise Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, add the butter and salt and whip up the butter on high speed until light and fluffy for 30 seconds.
Add in the confectioner’s sugar, jam, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp whole milk and whisk on medium speed to whip up until smooth, for a minute. If the buttercream is not smooth, add in another tablespoon of milk and whisk to combine, until smooth.
Put the buttercream with into a piping bag with an Ateco #802 nozzle piping tip. Using a bench scraper, scrap the buttercream from the top of the bag, till it all collects to the wide end of the piping tip. Twist the top and your bag is ready to pipe.
For the Assembly
Invert the green shells. Pipe a round around the border of the macaron, with the buttercream. Add ¼ tsp of the lime curd in the center. Cover with the purple shell and press gently to adhere. Repeat for all the remaining macarons. OR you can pipe the buttercream on all the green shells first, add the lime curd in all of them as well, and then cover with the purple shell to adhere.
Store in an air tight container, and keep it in the fridge up to 2 weeks. To eat, simple remove 15 minutes prior out of the fridge, for them to come to room temperature, to ensure that the macarons and buttercream is soft.