Ingredients for Pumpkin Spice Macaron Shells:
125 g (1 cup + 2 Tbs) almond flour or 125 g (11/4 cups) blanched almonds
215 g (13/4 cups) powdered sugar
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
100 g (3 large) egg whites, aged
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
35 g (3 Tbs) granulated sugar
2-3 drops gel food coloring (optional)
chopped pecans for shell toppings (optional)
Prepare the dry ingredients: Grind the almonds, powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice together in a food processor for 2 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Sift the mixture twice, regrinding any large pieces of almonds if necessary.
Prepare the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on low speed until bubbles begin to form (speed 4 on the KitchenAid mixer for 1 minute), then add the cream of tartar. Continue to mix on low speed until the cream of tartar has dissolved and the egg whites appear frothy (about 1 minute). Add the granulated sugar in three portions, while mixing on medium speed, until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites have soft-medium peaks (speed 6 on the KitchenAid mixer for 2 minutes). Continue mixing on high speed for 60-90 seconds, until the egg whites have firm, glossy peaks (speed 8 on the KitchenAid mixer). Add orange food coloring, if desired, then beat on the highest speed just long enough to evenly disperse the color (speed 10 on the KitchenAid mixer for 30-60 seconds).
Perform the macaronage: Gently fold the dry ingredients into the meringue in 2 to 3 portions. To properly fold in the ingredients (i.e., to evenly mix while deflating some of the air in the meringue), scrape the spatula along the bottom of the bowl, then bring the spatula to the top and press down into the batter. Check the consistency of the batter in between every few folds. The batter should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons, and any peaks should flatten out in about 15 seconds.
Pipe the batter: Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (about a 1-cm diameter). Pipe circles on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a template to ensure uniform circles.
Rest the piped batter: To eliminate any air bubbles, firmly rap each baking sheet against the counter (while keeping the sheet level). Sprinkle chopped pecans on half of the shells, if desired. Rest the sheets on the counter for 30-60 minutes (or as little as 15 minutes, depending on the humidity), until the tops of the shells form a skin–the batter should not stick to your fingers when lightly touched.
Bake the shells: Bake the macaron shells, one sheet at at time, at 275-300°F for 16-18 minutes, until the shells don’t wobble and can be easily removed from the parchment paper. Allow the shells to cool down before filling them.
Makes: 30-35 filled cookies
Ingredients for Pumpkin Buttercream:
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
65-70 g (2 large) egg whites
125 g (9 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
100 g (1/3 cup + 1 Tbs) pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Prepare the meringue: Place the sugar and egg whites in a double boiler and whisk continuously, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160°F. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed, until a stiff, glossy meringue forms and the bowl is cool to the touch.
Make the buttercream: Beat the meringue on medium speed while slowly adding the butter. Make sure each addition of butter has blended in before adding another chunk.
Flavor the buttercream: When all the butter has completely blended in, add the pumpkin puree (in multiple portions) and pumpkin pie spice to the buttercream mixture. Continue beating until the mixture is well-combined.
Makes: 2 cups
Ingredients for Pumpkin White Chocolate Ganache:
60 g (1/4 cup) heavy cream
30 g (2 Tbs) butter
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp sea salt
7 g (2 tsp) cornstarch
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
80 g (1/3 cup) pumpkin puree
120 g white chocolate
Prepare the cream: Place the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the sugar, salt, and cornstarch until all the ingredients are dissolved.
Flavor the cream: Stir in the pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat.
Make the ganache: Add the white chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted into the mixture. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature and solidify.
Makes: 1.5 cups
There may be leftovers of both the buttercream and ganache after filling the macarons, but they both store well. Buttercreams can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months. To reuse the buttercream, simply whip it in the bowl of a stand mixer until it comes to the right consistency–this is especially important because of the moisture from the pumpkin.
Prepare the fillings: Place the buttercream and ganache in the refrigerator if they are too soft to work with. When ready to use, transfer each filling to a piping bag.
Assemble the macarons: Match like-sized macarons to each other in pairs. Pipe the buttercream or ganache in the center of one cookie. Gently press down on the filled cookie with the other cookie until the filling just spreads to the edges.
Mature the macarons: Place the macarons in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours (to allow the flavor and moisture of the filling to infuse into the cookies). Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving.
At first I wasn’t sure if there would be enough pumpkin flavors in the macarons, but these tasted great and weren’t too sweet! My fiancé typically doesn’t care for anything with pumpkin, or sweets for that matter, but he actually loves eating these macarons. These are now on my list of holiday desserts that I plan to make every year!