Carrot cake macarons

Carrot cake macarons

By
From
The Desserts of New York
Makes
25
Photographer
Alicia Taylor

By 2011, fervour for the French classic was reaching fever pitch in the city. ‘Your slacker boyfriend gives you cupcakes; your lover gives you macarons,’ The New York Times even wrote. Other trends have since snatched the top title, but New York’s love for macarons endures.

As a devotee myself, I savoured the selection at foreign imports (Ladurée), French patissiers (Bouchon) and dedicated parlours (Bisous Ciao), and flavours ranging from the traditional (salted caramel) to local and seasonal (blood orange).

It being New York, I couldn’t resist the big bold American flavours, from key lime pie to peanut butter and jelly, and this macaron follows in their exuberant footsteps. With cream cheese buttercream studded with walnuts, and meringue laced with autumn spices, it tastes just like a delicious carrot cake, only more elegant, as only a French macaron can do.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
150g caster sugar
60ml water
110g egg whites, from about 3 eggs
orange food colouring, to colour (see tip)
100g walnuts, toasted

Cream cheese buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
110g caster sugar
60ml water
1 egg
2 egg yolks
200g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
250g cream cheese, chopped, softened

Method

  1. Process the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Sift into a large bowl with the spices.
  2. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches 115°C. Using an electric mixer, whisk 55 g of the egg whites until soft peaks form. When the syrup reaches 118°C, immediately pour the hot syrup in a thin steady stream down the side of bowl, with the motor of the electric mixer running. Whisk for a further 5 minutes or until cool.
  3. Place the remaining 55 g of egg whites in a small bowl and whisk in the food colouring. Add the tinted egg whites to the almond mixture and stir until a paste forms. Add the meringue and fold in until just combined, then continue folding until the mixture resembles a loose cake batter and slowly falls off the spatula (take care not to overfold as the mixture can go from the right consistency to too runny very quickly).
  4. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Transfer the mixture to a piping (icing) bag fitted with a 9 mm plain nozzle. Holding the bag upright and 1.5 cm from the tray, pipe straight down to form 4 cm rounds, 2 cm apart, making a quick quarter turn of the nozzle to finish piping each round. Set the macarons aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or until a skin forms on the surface (it should not be tacky when gently touched).
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  6. Cook the macarons, one tray at a time, for 15 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and the shells can be easily removed from the tray (the shells should not be coloured). Set aside to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the buttercream, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 115°C. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg and egg yolks until thick and pale. When the syrup reaches 118°C, with the motor running, immediately pour the hot syrup in a thin steady stream down the side of the bowl, then whisk for 5 minutes or until completely cool. In a clean bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then add the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until well combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 9 mm plain nozzle.
  8. Pipe mounds of buttercream onto the flat side of half the shells. Top with the walnuts, then cover with a little more buttercream. Sandwich with the remaining macaron shells.
  9. Refrigerate the macarons for 24 hours, then bring to room temperature just before serving. They will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tip

  • All food colouring is not created equal. Liquid colouring, from supermarkets, is the weakest (you’ll need a lot for intense colour), while pastes and powdered dyes, from speciality suppliers, are the strongest (take care not to use too much). Gel, available in some supermarkets, sits in the middle. Colour also diminishes as you add additional ingredients. Basically, experiment and don’t worry if you don’t hit the desired colour on your first attempt.
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Desserts
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