Lebkuchengewuerz is very popular in Germany over the Christmas holidays. It's a spice mix that is a milder form of gingerbread flavors and also include small amounts of anise and fennel.
Some interesting facts on the spice combinations that make up the mix from wikipedia:
There is no set mixture which makes up Lebkuchengewuerz, instead every baker is free to make up their own. One, traditional mixture is called "Neunerlei" mix, which stands for nine spices which are the perfect praise of God: The Holy Trinity, the three elements (earth, air and water) and the three spheres, Earth, heaven and hell.
When I see these little packets in the stores around Christmas time, the hoarding begins and I always stock up my USA kitchens with some of these.
I've used them in candy, cookies, ice cream and even in hot beverages like cocoa and mulled wine. S0 of course it was time for a French Macaron test drive.
This worked perfectly. A friend had dropped off two fat gorgeous hand picked quince a week before. They were seductively languishing on my kitchen counter. I thought their grogeous color and flavor would make the perfect filling for lebkuchen French macarons and I was right.
The mildly spiced shells paired with the tart sweet fruity filling made the perfect holiday pairing for shells and filling.
Lebkuchen Macarons with Quince Filling
For the Lebkuchen 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 Lebkuchen spice mix
- 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 lebkuchen mix 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/lebkuchen 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.
- 1 lb ripe quince cut into pieces
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place quince water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally (quince should start to turn color)
- Add water if needed. Keep simmering and stirring until mixture becomes the consistency of thick pudding.
- Remove from heat, let cool for 15 minutes and stir in vanilla.
- Let cool completely before filling French macarons.