The sage in my garden is out of control and still going strong. Every weekend I expect it to be dead but each time it surprises me with its hardiness. So there's plenty of sage around and I am hoping it lasts until Thanksgiving.
However when I saw a powdered version in the market, there was no escaping buying it to put in French macaron shells. I've been experimenting like crazy lately with new French macarons flavors so please excuse the fact I just posted macarons last week. These were worth squeezing in before Thanksgiving.
Obviously I had to round out the taste with sumptuous seasonal flavors. More than one was in order. I roasted some sugar pumpkins recently and had the pureed result on hand. A splash of bourbon makes everything better, Thanksgiving desserts especially alluring.
I've had my fill of buttercream fillings lately, so am making a conscious effort to bring in some new elements to squish between delicate frilled shells.
Elegant mascarpone cheese did the trick. When paired with the pumpkin and bourbon and blended with sugar, I created a sweet, flavorful, fall filling for a sexy sage macaron. Hard to tell from these pictures but the shells have a slight green tinge from the powder and the taste was wow.
For the sage French macaron shells:
Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.
- 90 grams of egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
- 25-50 grams of fine granulated sugar
- 200 grams of powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground sage powder
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
- Pinch of cream of tarter
- Pinch of salt
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.
- Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces.
- Remove and discard two tablespoons of the mixture and whisk in the 2 tablespoons of the sage powder and set aside.
- Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. Add the pinches of salt and cream of tartar.
- Add the powdered sugar/almond/sage mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency. Make a peak of the batter and if it does not disappear after 5-7 seconds, keep folding. If it's running all over the place, you will probably have to start over.
- Place a pastry bag fitted with a round shaped tip in a tall water and and fold the edges down around the glass.
- Fill the pastry bag with the macaron batter, twist the open top to secure and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat.
- Let the macarons dry for about a half hour or until they harden.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the macarons on the middle rack in the oven. I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon.
- I place another empty baking sheet on top to prevent the shells from becoming toasted and discolored.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- When checking them after 10 minutes or so, if the ones in the back of the sheet seem to be cooking faster that the ones in front, flip the tray around.
- To test to see if they are done, peel the baking paper or silpat back, if the shell comes off easily, they are done.
- If you do have a problem with the shells sticking to the surface when removed from the oven, lift up the baking paper and pour a bit of water underneath. this will steam them off the paper.
- Transfer to a baking rack and let cool completely before matching up the shells into pairs according to size and then fill.
For the pumpkin Mascarpone bourbon filling:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Cream together butter and mascarpone cheese.
- Add pumpkin puree and blend.
- Add vanilla and bourbon together.
- Turn the mixer down to the slowest speed and add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
- Transfer the icing in a pastry bag and let stand in the freezer 1/2 hour before filling the macaron shells.