Yet another macaron that has come about while participating in the October Daring Bakers challenge :) I wanted to play around with using another kind of nut in the meringue as it's quite popular to sub half of the almond meal for pistachio or another kind of nut meal.
I love pecan nuts so which kind of nut I would be using was an easy choice. When roasted, they've got a lovely rich flavour and an amazing smell. One of my favourite desserts is pecan nut pie! I thought maple syrup would be the perfect partner, it's like ham and cheese, lamb and mint; maple & pecan just go well together.
The one thing about macarons is that you need the ingredients to be as dry as possible so I processed the pecan nuts as fine as I could, passed the meal through a sieve and then left the pecan meal to dry out over night.
Swiss buttercream is my now all-time-favourite frosting/filling. Well, it's a close tie with ganache, but I thought that a maple buttercream would be exactly the thing to fill these gorgeous little cookies. I gave them a very generous dollop of buttercream and then promptly shoved about 5 into my mouth. Ok, not 5, but quite a few disappeared in a short space of time ;)
90g Egg whites (about 3), aged & at room temp
145g Confectioners/Icing Sugar
70g Granulated Sugar
60g Almond Meal
60g Pecan Nut Meal
- Process the confectioners sugar, almond meal & pecan nut meal until the nut meal is fine then sift into a medium bowl.
- Tip: If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
- Tip: It's best to process your pecan nut meal before time and leave to dry out overnight
- Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl until foamy.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- Tip: If you turn the bowl upside down they should make no move to fall out
- Fold half of the nut meal mixture into the meringue, starting quite vigorously then folding more carefully.
- Tip: I added a tiny bit of chocolate brown powdered colour
- Add the remaining almond meal mixture and fold in carefully. Do not overfold.
- Tip: A good way to tell if the batter is ready is when you fold it onto itself, it should blend back into itself in about 30seconds
- Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
- Tip: It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
- Pipe 1 1/2 inch mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Tip: I don't recommend using a silicon mat, I had trouble taking the macarons off each time I used it. Once piped, bang the sheet down on a counter top a couple times to flatten any mounds and bring up air bubbles, also to settle the almond meal to the bottom giving smooth tops.
- Leave the unbaked macarons out to dry, between 30min - 1 1/2 hours.
- Tip: If you have a fan assisted oven you can dry them in less time by just having the fan turned on with the macarons in the oven.
- Sprinkle a little bit of ground pecan nuts over the piped macarons
- While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C Fan Assisted)
- Once dry, bake for 15-22mins depending on their size
- Tip: They're ready when you push them and they move very slightly on their feet
- Cool on a rack before removing from the parchment, 15-30mins
- Pipe or spoon with filling and sandwich
Maple Swiss Buttercream
2 Egg Whites
100g Granulated Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
3-4tsp Maple Syrup
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl
- Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water
- Whisk over heat until all the sugar is dissolved and it resembles marshmallow fluff, about 3 mins
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat until the mixture is cool and you have a glossy meringue
- Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure it's completely mixed in before adding more
- Tip: At some point it will look curdled, DON'T WORRY! Once you've added all of the butter, just keep beating and it will come together to form a smooth, creamy buttercream
- Beat in the vanilla extract and maple syrup until thoroughly combined
This macaron recipe is adapted from Syrup & Tang
You'll find that most serious macaron bakers swear by using aged egg whites, and I did notice a difference with the feet between using fresh & aged. Some say 3 days is best, some say up to 5 days is best. To age your egg whites, leave them in the fridge (or if in a cool climate) on the counter covered with a paper towel to stop anything from getting inside, and allow to stand between 3-5 days. If aged in the fridge, leave out until room temperature before using.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge but sit out for an hour or two before eating