Fall Flavors, Macarons and the Daring Bakers

It wouldn’t surprise me if I am indeed the last Daring Baker to post the challenge today. “Phew…” It almost didn’t happen! Life has been crazy with all sorts of unexpected events, travel and finishing up side projects before baby arrives.

I made the macarons right before I went on a weekend getaway, but did not have enough time to style and photograph them. My plan was to do it right as I returned from my trip, but I should have known better. “Never leave for tomorrow what you can finish today”, my amama used to say. She was right.

Like most of you, I am super inspired by whatever fall has to bring. My initial intent was to make some membrillo, but quince is nowhere to be seen around here, so I chose to use asian pears, which are abundant and beautiful. Inspired by Stephane Glacier’s apple tart tatin macarons, I cooked asian pears in caramel and butter. I combined both almond and pistachio macaron shells with the asian pear tatin and mascarpone cream.

I also made chestnut and praline macarons with the chestnut cream that my dear friend Deb brought back for me from Paris. I had been saving it for something special and I couldn’t wait any longer. I made the praline by caramelizing the hazelnuts just like my grandmother used to do with a sandy sugar coating. Oh the memories that those smells bring!

I have several packages ready to give out to friends this week. This last month will be crazy for me and I have so many people to be thankful for. Enjoy!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Claudia Fleming’s Macarons

Note: I made three different batches using three different nuts. Some all almond, some added half almond/half pistachio flour and some half almond/half hazelnut flour.

2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.) powdered sugar
2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.) almond flour
2 tablespoon (25 g, .88 oz.) sugar
5 (Have at room temperature) egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. 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.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. 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.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.


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108 Responses to “Fall Flavors, Macarons and the Daring Bakers”

  1. El says:

    Oh, they’re beautiful! It was worth the headache. I love pears and adore the green and cream colors together. The whole thing – just gorgeous!

  2. Tartelette says:

    Beautimus! I’m making Asian pear frozen yogurt as we speak :)
    I think there is a Chinese proverb associating them with eating or sharing them in 3s, so make sure you give or eat three back to back, ahaha!

  3. veron says:

    I love Asian Pears. And Stephane Glacier does have lovely ideas about macarons. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, as usual. Where did you get those brown containers for macarons?

  4. Jamie says:

    Aran, stunning and inspiring. You always do beautiful pastries. And now I’m thinking fall fruit and chestnut cream. Wow, just beautiful!

  5. Nikki says:

    Beautiful! Works of art! I am inspired to try my hand at fashioning some macarons… although I am more than a little intimidated.. I suppose there is no better way to learn and conquer fear than to jump right in and try! Oh and the packaging just makes me swoon!

  6. Asha @ FSK says:

    Aran, these are simply stunning.. You were one of my biggest inspirations for making macs (actually more an obsession).. Gorgeous!!!

  7. Frenchie says:

    I obviously shouldn’t be surprised at how beautiful your macarons are, your results always seems perfect to me. My culinary improvement will come entirely from people like you, so thank you for sharing. I have never seen a macaron with whole fruit rather than a cream filling, but I really like the idea. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in this month’s challenge, but I am looking forward to the day that I make macarons, fingers crossed that they will look half as beautiful as yours.

  8. Kimberley says:

    So many of my favorite flavors. Caramelized hazelnuts, WOW. Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Hilda says:

    They’re so gorgeous Aran, and it’s funny because you made me flash back to a year ago when I was pregnant with K. and I was eating Asian pears by the bushel. Funny too that I used the little can of chestnut puree I have from the French store here for my macs. Chestnuts are the ultimate fall thing aren’t they?

  10. Aran says:

    El- thank you for all your kind DMs this weekend! xx

    Tartelette- didn’t know that but brilliant!

    veron- they are actually baking molds that I got at NY Cake and Candy Co, but I’m sure you can find them anywhere they sell baking cups, etc. Maybe fancy flours, or Bake It Pretty.

    Jamie- thanks for the re-tweet!

    Nikki- try them!

    Asha- thank you!

    Frenchie- do try them!

    Hilda- i saw your can of chestnut cream too. so delicious!

  11. Seanna Lea says:

    Beautiful! I love seeing your macaron. I should remember to make some the next time I have egg whites left after ice cream making.

  12. Your macarons look beautiful and so perfect! A beautiful post…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  13. Bethany says:

    Stunning! That was one of the first sayings my grandfather taught me: in arabic. I always try to stick to it, but yeah, not as easy as it used to be!

  14. Lauren says:

    Amazing! Everything is beautiful & the flavours sound perfect =D.

  15. Oh, fall just makes me sigh with relief and happiness. So much comfort, to be wrapped up in one season! Your membrillo idea sounds fantastic, but I wouldn’t complain about the asian pear or chestnut & praline variations – those look and sound amazing! Perfect for sharing with friends :)

  16. Mimi says:

    As always your photography gorgeous. I love the color and flavor combinations. I was not brave enough to vary the recipe this time out. Next time!
    Mimi

  17. Your macs look so perfect tucked in their beautiful boxes!

  18. mlle noelle says:

    I’m sure you aren’t the last person to post. I have posted my Daring Bakers reveal a day or even two days late before when life has gotten in the way! This month I was on time, but unfortunately my macarons were total failures. At least I can come here and look at your lovely photos and hope to do better next time.

  19. My favourite has got to be the asian pear tatin with the mascarpone cream – what a brilliant combination. But having said that, everything else looks beautiful You inspire us all!

  20. Dajda says:

    Aran, you’ve finally convinced me to bake macarons this autumn – can you imagine I was in Paris and didn’t have a single macaron because I didn’t even know such a thing existed? I’ll do better next time. So do you mean you could use quince the same way you used Asian pears? I love quince. :)

  21. Sooo beautiful! I snapped my pics quickly this morning and it’s like day and night looking at yours and mine!

  22. Julia* says:

    Ces petits macarons aux carrés de pommes sont craquants… et les photos sont à croquer comme toujours !

  23. beautiful! the recipients of your little packages are very lucky, indeed!

  24. shaz says:

    Absolutely breathtaking photos. I’ve never thought to cook with Asian pears (always just eat them fresh), but this combination sounds wonderful. Good luck with everything!

  25. Jas. says:

    As usual, your photography and styling is just inspirational and I could eat everything straight off of my screen!

    I too did the DB challenge although my little macarons didn’t have ‘feet’, it was a learning curve in patience that is still continuing and I will do so until I perfect them!

  26. shez says:

    How lovely! I have been thinking and thinking of different ways to package up my macaron for giving away to friends & family over Christmas and had very little luck until – oh! How stunning!

    I love what you’ve done with the fist lot of macaron too – they looks oh so classy, and would make a beautiful desserty treat for the end of a Summery dinner party.

  27. Aran, lovely macarons – as always. I very much loved your inspiration for Stephane Glacier’s apple tart tatin macarons. I was almost going to make a similar version. PH’s Macaron Frivolité – based on tart tatin, too. But I ran out of time (and patience for translating the 2 pages of instructions!).

    I love the packaging of your macarons. I’ve struggled with that in the past for Christmas gifts etc. (They always seem to move around or break!) Are those little containers just mini loaf cases? You’ve inspired me!

  28. Oh, Aran, I couldn’t wait to see what you did for this Challenge and, of course, it’s gorgeous! I love the little boxes you packaged them in.

  29. Susan @ SGCC says:

    Oh, boy! Your macarons look absolutely heavenly! I love the flavors you used too. Of course, the photos are stunning as well. Beautiful job!

  30. Me! says:

    Ugh I hate you and your perfect macarons. Not fair!

  31. Vera says:

    Beautiful, Aran! You never disappoint!

  32. Beth says:

    Your asian pear filling is lovely. Wonderful idea to use something chunkier!

  33. Hil says:

    I think macaroons are so beautiful. You have inspired me to make them for the first time. Love your site.

  34. Ryan says:

    Your photos are ridiculous. Very, very nicely done.

    Just started checking in recently, but looking forward to trying out some of these posts.

  35. Jill says:

    As soon as I saw the picture of the Asian Pears, I was hooked! Beautiful and so delicious and so perfect looking! I just love your blog–it always inspires me. :)

  36. Hi, Aran…
    How did you find this recipe compared to the one you usually use? I am interested in whether you altered it, or did it as it is written. You could probably make them with your eyes closed, and you do have a standard recipe, so wadn’t it difficult to use one that may not work as well?… I am sincerly interested …
    Passionate about the French Macaron, and still have not succeeded at making one.
    Cheers,
    Valerie

  37. MeetaK says:

    Lovely looking macarons Aran. I just love the wonderful fresh flavors you used for this. You are a true inspiration here!

  38. sweetakery says:

    Hi Aran!..
    they’re beautiful! and the flavours yumm love it!!

  39. Christy says:

    Truly stunning!! I love how you’ve styled them in the photos with the apple cubes sandwiched in the middle, and the mismatched shells are a hit!!

  40. Aran says:

    Juia- those are mini paper cake molds that I got at a cake supply store. just wrapped them in colored parchment, some fabric and twine. easy!

    Valerie- good question and I was going to mention it actually and forgot. Claudia Fleming’s recipe is very very close to mine and it worked out great. I ended up adding a pinch of salt because I like that bit of contrast and also increased the sugar a bit to make a more stable meringue when whipping the whites but if you compare, they are very similar. She doesn’t use egg white powder so I aged my whites a lot because it’s so humid in FL.

    Thanks everyone!

  41. Gorgeous in every frame, in every word, in every blink of the eye! Beautifully done Aran…and so full of feelings, love & warmth! That’s why I love your posts! Take care of yourslf this last month my dear. Good luck!

  42. simply perfect as always! they look like heavenly one bite sweet sandwiches, i love the colors and the filling, genial! besos,

  43. Junglefrog says:

    They look so absolutely perfect!! I am always amazed at how gorgeous you make them look and the shapes are all so similar…!! Well, ofcourse I shouldn’t be compairing my flat cookies to your gorgeous macarons. love them!

  44. morgana says:

    Me encantan. Todo. Lo perfectos que son, los colores, la presentación, los recipientes… Y los sabores mejor ni me los imagino o me va a dar algo.

  45. Oh wow, those macarons look so perfect! Your friends will love the little gift parcels!

    I am a big fan of chestnut puree too, and I’ve got some at home. But, last time I tried to fill my macarons with it, the cream was too runny. Any suggestion on how to get a thicker or stiffer chestnut cream filling?

    x Anne

  46. Your Daring Bakers post caught my eye because my most recent post is for curried muffins as a way to use up the flesh of all the pumpkins people will be getting through this Halloween!

    http://notesonthemenu.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/spicy-savoury-pumpkin-muffins/

  47. outsideoslo says:

    It’s so inspiring to see what you and other bakers are doing with flavors in macarons!

    I know they’re French, but it makes me curious to try making them with some Scandinavian flavors such as lingonberry or cloudberry.

    Do you have any recommendations on how one might successfully add preserves like that to the macarons?

  48. Aran says:

    Outsideoslo- you can definitely add the preserves as the filling or if you have the fresh fruit, you could make pate de fruit and incorporate it in the center of a buttercream filling. I love a bit of pate de fruit in my macarons!

    Thank you everyone!

  49. Aran says:

    Happily Ever After- I missed your comment! Sorry. I normally do 1 part chestnut cream, 1 part chestnut puree and 2 parts butter. All creamed together and if chunky strained. You can add some vanilla or rum to it too. Delicious!

  50. Dianne says:

    Stunning. The pistachio and almond shells are particularly beautiful to me, sandwiched together as they are. I’m in awe and more than a little bit jealous that you were able to make Claudia Fleming’s recipe work so beautifully…I’m wishing I had some of your pastry talent!

  51. nikki says:

    The chestnut and praline macarons are such a perfect fall treat! Lovely photos.

  52. cindy* says:

    i l-o-v-e asian pears. i have never cooked them before, i always just end up eating them all ;)

    lovely, lovely!

  53. I just pur my comment way, way down here after #56…you are a rockstar!
    Once again you hit the ball outta the park.

  54. tara says:

    I cannot decide what my favourite element of this photo series is – the lovely macarons, the adorable boxes, or that charming, charming fabric. Who am I kidding. Food always wins. The macaron flavours sound sublime. You’ve got some lucky friends.

  55. Edible says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Valérie says:

    Your macarons are gorgeous ! I love what you did with the little boxes and the two-colour macarons !

  57. Jen Yu says:

    The colors are so lovely, but when I read chestnut and praline, I nearly dropped my glass of water. I have never had that combination, but now I know that is one of my life’s goals :) Oh Aran, to be your neighbor must be a treat, I am sure. You always make macs into suh artistry. Gorgeous. Hope you and the little one are doing well!

  58. the wood–in the first picture, is that a deck or a fence or a table or what?! you are surrounded by such beautiful things i am becoming jealous of florida :P

    in the photo where they are stacked on the little white wood block, is that inside a light box? i know you only use natural light, but it is so soft! i am dying with the almost near-night darkness from morning till sunset up here in seattle….aiai.

    mmm the fresh fruit looks nice, probably the only less sweet macaron out there….but i’m not gonna like, it looks near impossible to eat! :P sloppy joe macaron. hehe. but completely beautiful none the less.

  59. Alessandra says:

    Oh these are so splendid….you are really talented!

    Alessandra

  60. Y says:

    Those are really gorgeous, Aran. I love the two-tone thing. Wish I could remember to try making a batch of those!
    I’m amazed you managed to get these done considering everything that has been happening for you recently. Hope it all calms down soon. (although once the baby pops out, I’m sure life will be everything BUT calm! :) )

  61. andaoana says:

    Gorgeous! The pairings are exquisite and the photos left me speechless again.

  62. sunita says:

    Aran, your macs always look so heavenly. Love your flavours :-)

  63. Aran says:

    Jen- thank you! still have a bit of imbalance from the last vertigo attack but i hope it passes soon!

    Mallory Ellise- that is just an old wood board. About the light, yes, that is natural light and it’s not a lightbox per se, but I did have a bouncer on the side. The pear tatin macarons were tiny so they were not that hard to eat really. Only took one bite!

    Thanks everyone!

  64. Des says:

    Wow, this looks so good. Actually, everything on this blog looks good!

  65. Zerogluten says:

    ERES LA MEJOR!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Besitos sin gluten.

  66. Valentina says:

    Aran, these are fabulous. I am so scared of trying these and failing.You are an inspiration as you make things look achievable.

  67. Simply superb! I’m enthralled by your choice of asian pears…brilliant choice to use with the macarons.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  68. simplesong says:

    sigh .. perfection, aran! oh to experience one of your creations in person…one day!

  69. peasepudding says:

    They look beautiful, I found a batch of chestnut cream one day in my veggie store, almost out of date because no one knows what to use it for here and I jumped for joy! It’s so exciting finding ‘hard to get’ ingredients.

  70. Anna says:

    They all looks so lovely! I am probably the only person in the world who doesn’t like Asian pears but I would still try these. For, uh, investigative purposes.

  71. Laura says:

    just stunning.

    I hope you see this question – is the filing the chestnut cream puree and butter all creamed together? I’d love to try your recipe and I want to be sure I’ve got it right.

  72. Aran says:

    Laura- yes, it is 1 part chestnut puree, 1 part chestnut cream and 2 parts room temperature butter all creamed together with a bit of vanilla extract and crushed praline. Let me know what you think!

    Thanks everyone for all your comments. Have a great weekend!

  73. Hive Admin says:

    Aran! When and how did I miss it that you are expecting! I am sooooo excited for you – really couldn’t be happier! We are expecting as well, due March 1 (so will deliver who knows when!? :) Congrats! I hope you are doing wonderfully well. I blame myself for falling so behind and out of touch with everyone for not knowing. I’m just so happy for you I had to speak up!

  74. Austin says:

    Aran I love the macarons! I made your Pistachio And Grapefruit macarons and they came out looking perfect! The only thing is that they stuck to the parchment and have air pockets. I was thinking of baking longer to make sure they don’t stick but I don’t know how to solve the issue of air pockets. Any ideas?

  75. Dharm says:

    These are just fabulous!! So pretty looking and I can imagine just how great they taste!! Lovely!

  76. Clearly good things come in small packages. I’ve never made macarons, but now I must give them a try.

  77. Perfectly gorgeous-I love your the chestnut/praline flavor combination and the two tone color thing is sweet. So lovely and pretty, it’s a treat just reading your post!

  78. Roser says:

    Hi Aran:
    The powdered sugar is “azucar blanquilla ” in spanish?
    Es la primera vez que me acerco a tu blog, puedo leer bastante bien el ingles, pero me cuesta escribirlo. Poco a poco lo voy a intentar.
    Un saludo desde España

  79. Liska says:

    I think I’m hungry..
    These are so tempting and beautiful!

  80. Aran says:

    Roser- nosotros le llamamos azucar glas. No se si la blanquilla es tan fina. Lo es? Ya no me acuerdo!

    Thanks everyone!

  81. Gloria says:

    Hola Aran que tiempo que no venìa, està todo precioso como siempre, tus recetas el blog, delciioso! te mando besoosssss gloria

    Yourmacarons recipe is amazing!!!

  82. kellypea says:

    Absolutely fabulous. Love the alternating top and bottom colors and your choice to use Asian pears with caramel. I’ve been looking for something like that to use on a pear tart and you’ve helped me seal the deal. Such beautiful photography!

  83. I love all of your photos! They are so beautiful!

  84. Laura says:

    Aran, thanks for your reply. I’m sure my macarons will not be anything like yours, but my husband is a firm believer that looks don’t matter as long as the food is flavorful.

    I’m going to try these out. Thanks for clarifying and for the amazing photos!!

  85. Claro que te han salido preciosos como siempre Aran. Me han encantado los sabores, pero sobretodo los paquetitos donde los has puesto. Super chulos!

  86. ha! wait til you see the next package! hahahahjajajajajaja…thesde are beauiful aran–i love all the colors and the ideas…your flavors are always so thoughtful (no matter when you finished them:)

  87. LS says:

    they are just so beautifull! congratulations! and I love the package too I am actually searching some for me as well!
    http://www.lauresophie.com

  88. [eVeRytHiNg] says:

    macarons look beautiful and so perfect! and i like macarons very very very

  89. rashelie says:

    Wow! Marzipan ice cream, what a lovely idea. I love how your recipes always turn out so crisp and precise.

  90. Another wonderful creation, Aran.

    They look gorgeous and delicious.

  91. Shulie says:

    These Macaroons are absolutely gorgeous!! Can I supplement peanuts for the tree nuts? Or any other suggestions are welcome due to tree nut allergy. Thanks!!

  92. petrenkov says:

    It was very interesting for me to read this article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

    Truly yours
    Darek Wish

  93. Isabelle says:

    Dear Aran,

    I discovered your blog recently and I really love it. I’m passionate about making macarons and I wanted to share my recipe of macarons that uses crystallized violets: http://www.histoiresucree.com/recipes/macarons_violettes.html

    Isabelle from Toulouse, France

  94. kakitani says:

    Hi Aran,
    I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for Macaron recipes :] After many batches, I finally made some decent ones. They look fine when they’re just out of the oven … but the moment I put them in the fridge, the shells start getting all sticky and ‘wet’! :[
    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Keep the recipes coming :]

  95. Kakitani- well, the first thing is that you shouldn’t store macarons in the refrigerator after baking as the powdered sugar in them will start to melt and make them sticky. Once macarons come out of the oven, them let cool completely on the baking sheet. You can fille them and eat them then.

    If you are not going to eat them right away, then you can freeze them unfilled, the shells alone. Once frozen, thawed out and filled, they really need to be consumed right away.

    You could also store them (unfilled) tightly wrapped at room temp for a day or so.

    Hope that helped!

  96. kakitani says:

    Hi Aran!
    Thanks for your reply! I refrigerated them as I read some articles saying that it would help flavors to blend. Perhaps it is not such a wise idea after all :]

    I have tried freezing them as well, but I encountered the same sticky surface shells! I’m now guessing its because of the humidity here.

  97. Marie says:

    it’s such a treat to read your blog. i want to try every single one of your recipes:) also, you’re so good with packaging – where do you get those cute little boxes and the nice tissue paper?
    thank you!

  98. Marie- those little boxes are actually cake baking papers I got at New York Baking Company a shop in NYC with all things baking and cake decorating. The tissue is from Martha Stewart Crafts line.

    Thank you!

  99. Marie says:

    Thank you! I have a very good friend living there and must make her bring some of their products on her next visit home…

    Another thing, I tried your chocolate macarons with the peanut butter filling the other day, unfortunately not very successful (the dough was too hard), but alas, it was my first go and will definitely give it another try. But I now have a big jar of peanut butter (which I otherwise never use)and was wondering if you have or can recommend a a really good recipe for peanut butter cookies?

    Your blog is so INSPIRING! Feeling very lucky to have stumbled upon it!

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