I love Thanksgiving, always insisting on celebrating this holiday no matter what country I was living in at the time. Creating the the menus, decorating the table and inviting people near and far is all part of the fun and creativity. The problem is, no matter how much I plan, it always arrives like a freight train.
So I don't know how I managed it but I created these perfect Thanksgiving French macarons before Thanksgiving rolled up.
I've said this before, and I am sticking to it. For big holiday meals, I might make one cake but mostly I create platters of several different types of bite size desserts so guests can sample different items without feeling they are eating to the point of bursting.
These taste like pumpkin cheesecake with a lovely caramel finish. A lovely bite size pumpkin caramel cheesecake for your cookie platter.
Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
For the Cheesecake 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 extra fine white granulated sugar
- 200 grams of powdered sugar
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
- 3 drops cheesecake flavor oil
- Pinch of cream of tarter
- Pinch of salt
- 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.
- 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 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. Fold in the cheesecake flavor oil. 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 under the shell, 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 pumpkin caramel sauce or your choice of filling.
For the Pumpkin Caramel Frosting Filling:
3/4 cup pumpkin caramel (I used this recipe* from Crazy for Crust)
2 cups powdered sugar
*This recipe calls for pumpkin puree. See how below)
- Place pumpkin caramel in a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar.
- Beat on low until combined, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until frosting reaches the desired consistency.
- Load into a pastry bag and fill the macaron shells.
*For the roast pumpkin purée:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the whole pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and carefully slice off the stem and cut the pumpkin into quarters.
- Return the pieces to the oven and roast for another 40 minutes or until you can easily run a fork through the flesh and skin of the pumpkin.
- Remove the pumpkin pieces from the oven and let cool completely.
- Scrape out the stringy flesh and seeds and set aside.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and transfer to a food processor. Discard or compost the outer skins.
- Purée the pumpkin flesh in the processor until smooth.