Spiced Pumpkin Macarons

Halloween is very much not a holiday celebrated in Australia. Yet we seem to go along with it anyway. We don’t really get into lantern carving thing, and Trick or Treaters are usually met with scorn, confusion or a mixture of both. I couldn’t even tell you what candy corn tasted like. Ask most Aussies, and they’ll tell you it’s an American holiday not to be celebrated here. There’s a clear divide between the lovers and loathers of Halloween.

But we still get a bit of the Halloween fever here. This is probably mostly driven by the commercial side, with supermarkets and retail outlets stocking heaps of Halloween merch and covering their stores in black and orange decorations. People throw Halloween parties, as will pubs and clubs. Some of my favourite local music events happen on Halloween, Creepshow at The Espy being my absolute favourite. It usually involves watching lots of my favourite Melbourne bands playing sets in crazy costumes to a mosh pit of us crazy fans in equally crazy costumes. Good times.

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So while we’re not huge on Halloween and while there’s seldom an occasion to bake for, I find myself following my American friends and baking Halloween-themed stuff anyway. It’s well and truly Spring here, but I love being inundated with all the Autumn colours you Northern Hemisphere-ians are experiencing right now. Any excuse to pretend it’s Autumn.

Another thing we don’t do in Australia is sweet pumpkin food things. Pumpkin is the kind of thing we have with a Sunday roast. It’s a savoury fruit. The prospect of making it sweet seems utterly foreign. I keep promising myself I’ll try some sweet pumpkin dessert soon to see what all the fuss is about, but in the interim I thought I’d start with something more familiar inspired by the pumpkin pie.

These macarons begin like any other: by processing the almond meal and pure icing sugar to make it as fine as possible. Pure icing sugar is great at clumping, as you can see from my sugar rock here, so it’s also an effortless way to get it through the sifter.

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Once it’s all powdered up you can sift it through a fine mesh sieve. Sifting it a couple times helps get it really fine and helps you remove all the large particles remaining.

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Here I threw in a bunch of pumpkin pie spices before sifting a final time.

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Getting the meringue right is crucial, but simple if you know what to look for. Begin by getting your egg whites nice and frothy.

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Here’s where you can add in the food colouring. You want to colour to be really dark here. As you beat the meringue and it increases in volume, the colour really leaches out of it. It again dilutes when you add the almond meal mixture and again during baking, so you’ll need to make it darker than what you want your final product to look like.

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Beat in your caster sugar a little at a time, then keep beating until you get the meringue to stiff peak stage.

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Add the almond meal mixture to the meringue (never the other way around) in thirds.

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Once it’s combined you can begin the process of macronage. If you’re not familiar with this part, I’ve gone through this step-by-step in past macaron posts. Check out my honey bee macs for example and you’ll find everything you need to know for getting this part perfect.

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Once your mixture is deflated enough you’ll be able to pipe perfect spheres of batter without any unsightly peaks.

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They need to rest and then bake, but once they’re done you con commence shoving them all in your mouth filling them. The spice mixture made these so delicious that eating them all plain was actually hard to resist.

The choice of filling is totally open to interpretation. I went for a cinnamon-infused whipped dark chocolate ganache. Half to be Halloween colours and half because mmm, cinnamon.

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Squish them together and you’re ready to nom!Cakecrumbs' Spiced Pumpkin Macarons 11

They’re actually best after resting for a day in the fridge, if you can wait that long.

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I decided to have some fun with them and used an edible ink pen to draw lil’ Jack-o’-lantern faces on them.

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These were incredibly delicious. Helped a lot by how much I love the spices that go into these, the cinnamon especially. The spices keep them from being too sweet so it is ridiculously easy to eat far too many, faces or no.

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Spiced Pumpkin Macarons
Ingredients
Macaron biscuit

125g almond meal

150g pure icing sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground all spice

(alternatively use 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice mix, if you have it)

100g egg whites (approx 3 eggs) aged 1-7 days

65g caster sugar

Orange gel paste or powdered food colouring

Edible ink pen, for decorating (optional)

Cinnamon chocolate ganache

150g dark chocolate, chopped

75ml cream

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Macaron biscuit

  1. Prepare baking trays with double sheets of baking paper. Trace 2.5-3cm circles onto one of the sheets of baking paper as a guide for piping your macarons, leaving a few cm between each; make sure the side with the ink/lead is facing down so it does not come into contact with your food. Alternatively, use a silicone or macaron mat.
  2. Process almond meal and icing sugar together in a food processor, then sift through a fine mesh sieve; sift mixture twice more, then set aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites until foamy; add enough gel paste or powdered food colouring here to make the egg whites really vibrant. Continue beating on low speed, adding caster sugar a tablespoon at a time. Increase to high speed and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. You should be able to hold the mixture above your head without it falling.
  4. Fold the almond meal mixture into the meringue a third at a time.
  5. Using your spoon or spatula, swipe the mixture against the side of the bowl, scoop the batter from the bottom and plop it upside down. This movement deflates the meringue. You need to repeat this process until your batter is sufficiently runny. To test, look for the following signs: Your batter will slowly slide back down the sides. If you scoop up a bit of batter with your spatula or spoon and let it drop back into the bowl, it will fall slowly, form a small mound on top of the rest of the batter slowly sink back into it. Another good way to test is by getting a teaspoon of batter and plopping it into a small plate. If the peak formed when it falls from the spoon sinks back into the batter within 15 seconds, it is done.
  6. Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle, and pipe rounds of macaron batter onto your baking trays. Once done, bang your trays against the counter to knock any air out of the batter. Set aside your macarons aside to dry at room temperature. This will take 45mins-1 hour. Macarons are sufficiently dried when the batter does not stick to your finger when touched.
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C or 230°C fan-forced.
  8. Place tray in the oven, reduce temperature to 140°C or 130°C fan-forced. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here is where you need to experiment, as every oven is different and it will make a difference for macarons. Keep an eye on them and make sure your shells don’t char. Shells will be ready when they can be lifted from the baking paper without sticking. 25 minutes did it for me. Note, if using a macaron mat, the biscuits bake batter at a slightly lower temperature. Try decreasing the temperature by about 10°C and baking for 10-15 minutes longer.
  9. Set aside to cool.
  10. Once cool, draw Jack-o’-lantern faces onto half of the macaron shells.

 

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Set aside the chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and cinnamon to the boil.
  2. Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature, then whip the mixture until light and fluffy.

To assemble, spoon or pipe ganache onto the macaron halves without the faces. Sandwich with the face halves. Macs are best after a day in the fridge but can be eaten immediately.

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9 thoughts on “Spiced Pumpkin Macarons

  1. I’m from Argentina, so I feel you on the Halloween and pumpking bit. Though internet is really a huge influence, I made pumpking bread last week, and it was pretty good 😛
    Oh, and the macarons are so cute!! And I’m sure they’re mighty tasty as well 🙂

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