Pumpkin Pie Macarons

by angelika on October 5, 2011

It’s Autumn. My favorite of all the seasons. I said it last year, and I will say it again. Everything good happens in the fall. The apples were cleared from our orchard last weekend, picked up by a local company to become cider and pie. We are also having out first rain of the season. Nothing perks me up more than baking on a rainy fall day. The return of my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte has me craving all things pumpkin, and I decided it was time for my favorite cookie to get an Autumnal makeover. These macaron were an experiment, one that will go in the handwritten recipe book I have been compiling for years. Mr. Fabulous has proclaimed them his favorite of all my macarons. They are pretty spectacular. The meringue cookie has just the perfect hit of cinnamon and clove, and the filling is a pumpkin cream cheese frosting with a touch of orange zest. I could eat the filling by the gallon, and since the recipe made three times what I needed, I have some cupcakes in mind for later this week. And another batch or two of these macarons, of course. 

Pumpkin Pie Macarons
2/3 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 large eggs left out overnight, separated
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, drained
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 375º.
In a bowl of a food processor, process the almond flour and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin pie spice. 1/2 teaspoon is a subtle flavor, and 1 teaspoon is pretty strong. Both are great. I ended up going with 3/4 teaspoon of a commercial organic pumpkin pie spice in my favorite batch. 
Separate the eggs and discard, or set aside the yolks. Place the whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachement. Beat on low, and slowly increase the speed to high. When the eggs start to foam add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the eggs until stiff “bird beak” peaks form. 
Shake out the whisk and then add the contents of the of the food processor. Using a silicone spatula mix in the almond meal with powdered sugar and the whipped egg whites until all is combined. Macaronnage by spreading the mixture against the side of the bowl, then folding the mixture back together, then spreading out again. For a more detailed tutorial click here. You will do this between 6 and 10 times, looking for the right consistency. You want the batter to fold back on itself it ribbons and then slowly spread out. When it doubt err on the side of less working. You will know when you pipe them if you need to rework the batter, as the nipple from the piping bag won’t go away. You can easily place the contents back in the bowl and mix a bit more, you can’t go back if the batter is too runny. 
Fill the piping bag by standing it in a tall glass. I use the 1/2 inch coupler with no tip. I like this size. Line an air filled baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t have an air filled cookie sheet, stack two sheet trays. This ensures that the macaron don’t get too hot too quickly, which will make them crack before the rise. 
I pipe by flooding straight down for a second then pulling straight up. Try to make them pretty equal in size, otherwise they won’t all bake evenly. When you have the sheet full, bang the tray on the counter 6 or 7 times to get all the air bubbles out. 

The baking step is a bit tricky. My oven runs a bit cold. Meaning when I try a recipe I usually bake to the maximum time they give. I have not yet bought a thermometer for the oven, never mind it has been on my list for years. When I baked these in a cooking demonstration, with another oven, I tured the heat down to 325º to get the perfect cookie. You may just need to try your own oven. 
The process we are looking for is at 6-7 minutes the cookies rise, and you can see the ruffled foot, or pied. It is this foot that makes a macaron successfully authentic. As soon as the cookie rises you open the oven for a cold blast of air. This helps them cool a bit and not crack. Then you close the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes. Longer if you used two sheet pans instead of an air filled cookie sheet. Also longer if they are larger. You want to see just the lightest tint of golden around the bottom. The cookie should be cooked so that it is just solid, and not colored much on the bottom. This is a trial and error process, but once you know your oven you can just follow your formula. 
7 minutes, they have just risen

Let them cool on the sheet tray for 5 minutes, then gently lift from the paper to a wire rack. If you accidentally let them cook a little long, remove them straight away. Not to worry though, they will still be delicious and soften up after they sit with the filling.

To make the pumpkin cream cheese filling, first drain the pumpkin. This ensures the filling isn’t too watery. Lay the pumpkin on three sheets of paper towel, and cover with three sheets of paper towel, don’t worry it won’t stick. Then change these out a few times until a lot of the water is removed. 

In the bowl of the mixer, with the paddle attachement, mix the cream cheese, butter, pumpkin and orange zest. Add the vanilla. Then add the powdered sugar a little at a time until incorporated. I loved the taste when there was only three cups of powdered sugar, but it was not stiff enough. You may find three is enough with your ingredients. Once the mixture is combined you can pipe the filling straight away, or let the filling sit in the refrigerator and mingle for an hour. I did the latter. It also helps the butter harden a bit and gave me a bit of an easier texture to work with. 

Match up cookies that are the same size and pipe filling in between, make a sandwich, then put the sandwiches in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. I know this part seems like torture, believe me, I know. The texture of the macaron is just not right until you do this. It is essential. The moisture of the filling gives the meringue the perfect texture, crisp bite on the outside followed by chewy center and finally soft gushy filling. The perfect macaron is worth the wait. 
When you are ready to serve the macaron, remove them from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. I give them 20 minutes unless they are filled with chocolate ganache, then I give them 40 minutes. I also love to pack them up as a gift. One of my favorite little girls had a special birthday, and she received this box from me. 
A votre santé! 
for more macaron recipes follow these links:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

NonnyN October 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

HOLY MACARONOLY!!!! Will there be any for Little Man's birthday? Please, please!


Angelika October 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I don't know about the birthday, but definitely the Solstice Party!


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