Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Macarons

Macarons can be made in dozens of flavors but given the season, I thought it would be fun to do a pumpkin version.  I have a bit of a pumpkin obsession, having authored a whole book on the subject:  The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook.  Macarons do require a certain degree of precision but they are not as hard to make as some people would have you believe.

You will need some almond flour.  If you can’t buy it, you can make your own, just make sure the almonds are really dry.  Separate the eggs at least 1 hour before using or preferably the day before.  And if you want to ensure all the macarons are the same size draw circles of the desired size on the back of the parchment.  And do use a scale, it makes a huge difference here.  And, oh yeah, don’t make them on a rainy day!  (The pictures below were taken on a rainy day which is why the macarons didn't rise as evenly as they would otherwise.)

The recipe makes about 2 dozen 1 ½-inch macarons

215 g (7 ½ ounces) confectioners’ sugar
140 g (5 ounces) almond flour or sliced almonds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 g (3 ½ ounces) egg whites (about 3 large) at room temperature
pinch salt
25 g (2 tablespoons) castor or superfine granulated sugar
orange food coloring preferably paste or gel
Pumpkin buttercream (see following recipe)

1. Line two 18- by 13-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper adhering them to the sheets with a little butter.
2.  If sliced, grind the almonds very fine in a food processor with about half the confectioners’ sugar, scraping regularly.  Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon and process until very fine.  Pass through a medium-coarse sieve and regrind the remaining almond bits if necessary.  If using almond flour, sift together with the confectioners’ sugar.
3.  Beat the whites and salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add the granulated sugar and beat until stiff and shiny.  Add enough coloring for an attractive orange color and beat until homogenous. Using a rubber spatula fold in the almond mixture in two additions until just homogenous.  The mixture will deflate.

4. Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch (1 cm) round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets in circles about 1 inch in diameter.

Let the macarons dry about 20 minutes (a little longer is OK if you need to cook them in two batches) so a little skin forms on the outside. 
5. Preheat oven to 425°F.
6. Set the macarons in the center of the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350°F.  Prop the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon or something similar.  For small macarons, bake about 8-10 minutes, larger ones will take about 12-15.  They are done when shiny and hard on the outside.  When you pry one apart it should be a little moist in the middle.  Set on a cooling rack and cool briefly.  Remove from the macarons from parchment while still warm. Cool on cooling racks.

7.  Sandwich the macarons with 1-2 teaspoons of buttercream.  Set in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight.


makes about 2 cups (enough for about 4 dozen macarons)

2 large egg whites
2/3 cup raw sugar
pinch salt
6 ½ ounces (13 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly cooler than room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup canned pumpkin puree (at room temperature)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
large pinch ground cloves
orange food coloring, preferably paste or gel.

1.  Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer until they form soft peaks.
2.  Meanwhile combine the sugar and about 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over moderately high heat.  Bring to a boil and cook to the soft ball stage (235-240°F) on a candy thermometer.
3.  Gradually pour the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer on low speed.

Scrape down the sides and beat on high speed until the meringue is at room temperature.

Gradually add the butter and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.  Beat until completely smooth and fluffy.

Gradually beat in the remaining ingredients adding enough orange food coloring to give the buttercream an attractive pumpkin color.  If the buttercream seems to be separating beat on high until it comes back together.

1 comment:

Gerbicks said...

hello there! trying out this recipe tonight...wish me luck.
also, have you ever heard of putting macarons on edible rice paper? (we tried to make another recipe & couldn't get them off the wax paper, so now trying this recipe, just want to ensure they'll come off, right?)