Chocolate and Pumpkin are meant to be friends. They are the kids that meet in elementary, become best friends in middle school, and go to prom together in high school. Some things are just meant to be together. And when you add the French connection À La macaron? Ooooh la la!
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Chocolate Pumpkin French Macarons
100 g. egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
50 g. white sugar
200 g. powdered sugar
110 g. almond flour
Various fall colors of Coloring Gel, optional
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Pumpkin Spice Center Filling:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Whip room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and white sugar with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until the whites reach stiff peak stage. Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined. Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve. When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.” Place 2-3 drops of gel food coloring into the batter and swirl gently before carefully pouring into a piping bag. Pipe meringue circles onto a silpat using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets several times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles. Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary). Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results. When your macarons are done they should feel “firm on their feet.” If the macaron shells are soft or crack when gently touched, bake for 2 more minutes and test again until they are firm on their feet. After baking, remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow shells to cool, completely, before removing them from the silpat.
To make ganache filling, warm cream over low heat until it has small bubbles along the sides (but has not boiled). Stir in chocolate chips just until melted. You can also use the microwave, stirring after each 30 second heat. It should take roughly 1.5 minutes for the chips to be warm enough to melt when stirred. Allow warm ganache to chill in the refrigerator until it reaches the consistency of caramel sauce. Whip with the whisk attachment of your mixer until the ganache is fluffy and then chill again until it reaches a pipeable consistency. Fill cooled shells with circles of whipped ganache and fill the circles with pumpkin spice filling. Chill finished macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. Filled shells are perfect after 24 hours of curing but may be stored several days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.
Ahhhh, le French Macaron! This gloriously petite, delicate beauty is ridiculously difficult to get right. I would say that I worked harder to make French Macarons properly than I have ever worked on any baking venture before. I never took a class– I just kept reading and practicing until I figured out how to make these divine little devils. And I never looked back. They were worth every bit of the effort of learning. You can’t rush fabulous.
And darling . . . they are.
French Macarons are extremely difficult to make until you get the hang of them, and then they get a lot easier. So don’t give up! Even the “mistake” shells taste good. If you are new to making macarons it might help you to read my more detailed macaron making post here. Don’t worry. You got this.
That being said, macarons are the pregnant, hormonal woman of the pastry world. They don’t like to be overbeaten. They don’t like to be underbeaten. They can’t be made on a rainy day. They must be baked one tray at a time. You have to bang the trays on your floor to get the frustration out. I wish I were kidding.
Even when you think you have conquered all their woes, you find yourself with hollow shells, or lopsided tops, or the dreaded “macaron nipple.” Eww. Censors! Can we get a CENSOR in here??
HOWEVER, once you get the shells down, it’s time for the best part– picking your filling! At that point, the world is your oyster. So let’s make a pearl.
When you use a more runny filling for your macarons, such as the pumpkin puree one we are using today, it’s smart to surround it with a layer of something more solid to act kind of as a “dam” that holds the runnier filling inside so that it doesn’t ooze out when you bite into the macaron. Of COURSE since we know that chocolate asked pumpkin to the prom, using dark chocolate ganache seemed like the perfect choice for our little shapewear circle. Hey. A girl needs shapewear to go to the prom. Don’t judge her. How else can she get all that wondrous stuff into that teeny, neat little circle. Exactly.
I also made a few white chocolate circles because, you know. A girl also needs variety. Our prom queen needs options.
Macarons are at their very best after 24 hours of curing in the refrigerator. So pipe your ganache circles, fill in the pumpkin cream filling, and gently screw on the top shell. Cover the finished macarons with plastic wrap and let them rest comfortably, like the ladies of leisure they are, in the fridge overnight.
Yes. This means you can watch netflix and say you are “making macarons.” Technically, you are not finished with the making process, so technically this is true. The world just became a more beautiful place.
Then, of course, you can ask the ladies to tea. Sadly, ahem . . . no ladies will come back. But they will have the time of their lives and also make everyone happy, so that’s something.
Besides. With a beautiful teacup and a sweet, pumpkin spiced macaron, you can almost be beautiful enough for prom.
Don’t forget the shapewear.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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