Bewitch friends and guests with these tantalising pumpkin macarons. A sophisticated ghoulish concoction - black macaron shells filled with spiced pumpkin cream and chopped walnuts.
We've chosen the Italian meringue method for our macaron recipe as it is more reliable. A hot sugar syrup is poured over beaten egg whites, producing a silky, almost marshmallowy Italian meringue. Then, a fine ground almond and icing sugar mixture, known as tant pour tant in French, is folded into the meringue. The process of folding is known as macaronage and it is the most crucial part of this recipe. When the mixture starts to become shiny and sinks back into itself without leaving peaks after 20 seconds you know you have reached the right consistency. For more tips see our article on 5 common problems when making French macarons.
It's best to make and fill the macarons the day before serving them, as refrigeration overnight allows a mysterious, some might say 'magical', reaction to occur in the macaron shells - making them taste even better!
Black pumpkin macarons filled with pumpkin puree are the perfect halloween treat.
For the black macaron shells Serves: 36
For the pumpkin cream
To make the black macaron shells
- Begin by weighing out the icing sugar and ground almonds in a bowl.
- Transfer to a food processor and whizz for 10 seconds until fine. (Be careful not to over mix or the almonds will begin to release their natural oils and cause the finished macaron shells to look ‘blotchy’.)
- In a large bowl pour 110g egg white over the almond/icing sugar mixture – leave to sit on the surface without stirring whilst you prepare the Italian meringue.
- Line 4 large baking trays with parchment paper.
- Pour the second half of the egg whites (110g) into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Heat the caster sugar and 75g water in a pan. Monitor the temperature with a cooking thermometer and when it reaches 117°C start to beat the egg whites on full speed until they just reach the soft peak stage.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 121°C pour slowly over the egg whites whilst they are whisking.
- Whisk for 3 minutes on high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and whisk for a further 2 minutes. Then whisk on a slow speed until the Italian meringue has cooled to 50°C.
- Use a spatula to fold the Italian meringue into the almond mixture.
- When the mixture is homogenous, add the black food colour dissolved in the water. This will loosen the mixture slightly.
- Keep folding the mixture gently until it begins to relax and starts to turn glossy at the edges. Another way to test the consistency is to dap the mixture with the end of the spatula, the imprint should fade in around 20 seconds.
- Place a round 10mm nozzle in a piping bag and fill with the macaron mixture. Pipe rounds with a 3.5cm diameter spaced 2cm apart. (For extra help when piping draw the circles on the underside of the parchment paper in advance, or use a macaron stencil kit).
- Leave the macarons to dry out overnight or place in a dehydrator on the lowest setting for 20 minutes. A dry skin should form on the surface of the macarons so you can run your fingers over them without them becoming sticky.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan oven) – the ideal cooking temperature can range from 140°C – 170°C depending on your oven.
- Cook the macarons for 12 minutes. Open the door for a few seconds after 8 minutes to release the steam and again after 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack. Wait for the macarons to cool before peeling them off the parchment paper.
To make the pumpkin cream
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a pan. Simmer until all the sugar has melted.
- Add the sugar syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the pumpkin purée. Mix to combine.
- Soften the butter in a bowl in the microwave on a low power, being careful not to melt it.
- Mix the softened butter into the pumpkin mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
- Place the nozzle in the piping bag and fill with the pumpkin cream.
- Pipe a coin of the pumpkin filling onto the base of half the macaron shells.
- Sprinkle a few walnut pieces in the middle of the pumpkin filling.
- Top with the remaining macaron shells. For optimal results, refrigerate the macarons for at least 24 hours before serving.