One of my clients called to order a gluten-free dessert for his aunt who is crazy about pumpkins. When it comes to pumpkins, the most logical dessert would probably be pumpkin pie or cake. And they can easily be converted into gluten-free baked goods. However, it’s not fall yet, it doesn’t seem right to have pumpkin pie during summer!
So I suggested to make him these pumpkin spice macarons. The cookie shells are infused with a couple different spices, and they are absolutely interchangeable. I used ground cinnamon, turmeric and all-spice, but ground ginger, clove, nutmeg are all welcome. The filling is simply a mixture of cream cheese and pumpkin puree. No sugar! And the combination of this slightly less sweet filling and the very sweet cookie shell was fantastic. The notoriously sweetness was gone as the cream cheese filling balanced out the flavour. If you are looking for a solution to make your macarons less sweet, try to use cream cheese filling. It works great with all sorts of flavors.
Ingredients (around 20 sandwich cookies):
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a drop of orange food colouring paste
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a master template under the parchment paper or draw about 12 1 1/2-inch circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart.
Process powdered sugar, almond flour and all the spices in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the mixture through a sieve. If there are more than 2 tablespoons of large chunks left in the sieve, grind them and sift again. Set the mixture aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the ingredients are just combined. Add food colouring to tint the batter. Continue to fold the mixture until it has loosened and falls in a ribbon from the spatula.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers.
Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the cookies to develop their crusts.
Preheat oven to 300F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not browned.
Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons to cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from the parchment paper and turn them upside down.
To prepare filling, combine cream cheese and pumpkin puree, and mix thoroughly.
Spoon or pipe a teaspoon of filling onto each of the upside-down cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.