Monday, October 6, 2014

Macaron Monday: Black Walnut French Macarons with Red Currant Jam Filling

We have several black walnut trees on our Pennsylvania property. Each year as the nuts fall, I say to myself, "Self, please collect those nuts and do something with them". 

Sadly, that never happens. It's not like they're hard to miss. Sections of our property are like a hard hat zone. This year I not only missed the black walnuts, but the shag bark hickory nuts as well. We have two of those trees. I was told those nuts make a great nut milk.  Oh well.

Enter Kalustyan's. On my flavor powder spending spree there a few weeks ago, I bought this lovely black walnut powder. Such a great fall flavor for a French macaron.

For a filling I chose a jewel tone red currant jam. Or rather the leftover half jar in my fridge chose me.

I must admit love the color combination. However, this duo goes way beyond fashion. The tart sweet flavor of the jam paired perfectly with the nutty flavor of the macaron shells. 

Black Walnut French Macarons
with Red Currant Jam Filling

For the 
Black Walnut 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 extra fine white granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • 2 tablespoons black walnut powder
  • 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 two tablespoons of the powdered sugar/almond mixture and discard. Replace with two tablespoons of the black walnut powderSide Note: Instead of discarding, I collect these tablespoons of mixture in a separate ziplock bag and when I have enough I use it to make a half batch or full batch of shells.  Pulse or whisk until combined thoroughly.
  • 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/black walnut 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.
  • Fill with red currant jelly or your choice of filling.

1 comment:

  1. I love how your macarons turned out and using the walnut powder - must give it a fantastic shell flavour!


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