Thanksgiving is just a week away which means at this moment, intense pie planning is going down. So I hope you won't mind if I interfere and suggest maybe not making a pie at all? Maybe instead, make a pie inspired treat? Like these macarons? That'll definitely set your dessert table apart from everybody else's this year.
I know you're probably thinking, macarons? Really? Out of all the desserts I choose to suggest on a probably already stressful baking schedule, I choose the most notoriously finicky one. What can I say, these suckers are worth it in the long run.
And let me tell you, the run was very long with these sweet potato pie macarons. I had to try three darn times to get them right. It was like I hadn't made batches upon batches of successful macarons before. The good news is, I now have a new favorite recipe AND I feel like I have finally truly mastered the macaron.
Previous macarons I made sort of fit the bill, but the shells never turned out as crisp as I wanted. I believe this was due to me not beating the egg whites enough, but who knows. Macarons are a mystery. If you try to look up why something went wrong with your macaron, you'll get a list of reasons. There's no one reason because nobody ever really knows!
But enough scary talk. I need you not to fear the macaron. Because macarons, like dogs, can sense fear. So be strong when you whip up these spiced macaron shells. And be brave when you pop them into the oven and wait for the first sign of feet. And be confident when you fill them with a sweet potato buttercream + whipped cream filling.
Because the morning after, you will bite into one of these and you will find them to be deliciously crisp on the outside, yet wonderfully chewy on the inside and you will be elated that you have finally conquered the macaron. I believe in you.
Sweet Potato Pie MacaronsYield: Approximately 50 macarons
Ingredients:For the macaron shells:
115 grams almond flour
230 grams powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
144 grams egg whites, room temperature
72 grams granulated sugar
Orange food coloring (preferably gel paste)
For the sweet potato buttercream:
6 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the whipped cream:
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon powdered (confectioners) sugar
Directions:Add almond flour, powdered sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and break apart any big lumps. Sift mixture into a clean bowl. Discard any large pieces that do not pass through the sieve.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites, sugar, and orange gel paste on low speed for 3 minutes, medium speed for 3 minutes, then high speed for 3 minutes. The beaten egg whites should stick to the whisk when you remove it. Tap the whisk against the side of the bowl to release them into the bowl.
Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites, until the batter is smooth and lava-like. Be careful not to overmix. The batter should slowly fall off your spatula when you pick it up and any peaks in the batter should settle down within 20 seconds.
Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat. Pipe 1.5 inch rounds onto the parchment paper(or silicione mat). It is helpful to use a guide here, so all your macarons are the same size.
Once all the rounds are piped out, slam the baking sheet against a flat stable surface, then rotate, and slam again. This is done to force any large air bubbles to the surface. Let the piped macarons dry on the countertop for 45 minutes to an hour. The macarons are properly dried when you touch the top of the mounds and the batter doesn't stick to your finger.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place the baking sheet with piped macarons on an empty baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 18-20 minutes. Oven temperature varies, so keep an eye on them. To check if they are done, touch the top of the macaron. If it wobbles, it's not done yet.
Let cool completely on baking sheet before removing.
To prepare the filling, using an electric hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and lighter in color. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated. Add spices, vanilla, and mashed sweet potato and beat until well-combined. Add heavy cream and beat until fluffy.
In a small bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the macarons, match macaron shells into pairs of similar sizes as best as you can.
Spoon buttercream frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round decorating tip. Spoon whipped cream into another piping bag fitted with a small round decorating tip.
Pipe a circle of buttercream around the circumference of the flat side of half the shells. Pipe a dollop of whipped cream into the center of that circle. Top with opposite shell.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours to let the flavors develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Notes: I used 3-4 drops of Americolor orange gel paste for this color. Remember that macarons will become lighter in color after they are baked.
Also, I used a KA stand mixer and the low, medium, and high speeds correspond to speeds 4, 6, and 8 on the mixer.