That Once-a-Year Pumpkin Project
Last year, in my Tipsy Halloween Tea post, I told you about my penchant for jumping (emotionally speaking) directly from Summer to Winter. It’s quite sad saying goodbye to our beloved summer season in Vancouver. The next nine months will be filled with continuous West Coast rainfall, the start of the Fall season definitely reminds me of this all too well. Nonetheless, in between our bright summer season – with sunshine from 14-16 hours a day in between May to August – and the festive winter season, there are two little fall events called Halloween and Thanksgiving that I need to get through 🙂
This year I was actually inspired to get on this Fall bandwagon a bit early. Maybe it’s that ever impatient push in our commercialized world to have Halloween themed products out on the shelves before summer BBQ equipment is even put away that had me thinking about pumpkin spice since late August.
That Cheesecake Macaron Challenge
I decided early that this year’s fall project would be a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Macaron. Sure, there were a few other recipes out there already with variations of pumpkin, spice and or cheesecake but I wanted to create one that didn’t involve mixing cream cheese with powdered sugar (too sweet). It also had to have a substantial pumpkin flavour on top of the pumpkin spice since the spice alone tastes quite like gingerbread.
So for this recipe, I’ve infused the shells with pumpkin spice to give it that extra flavour. The macaron filling consists of a cream cheese frosting made with a meringue buttercream instead of American buttercream which contains powdered sugar. A ring of this cheesecake frosting is piped on the outside to create a dam and the inside is filled with a dollop of pumpkin spice curd.
One of the challenges of working with cream cheese is that it can separate if over beaten. You’ll see that the mixture will become curdled, sweaty and very lumpy. One of the extra steps taken to combat this is to cream and soften the cream cheese ahead of time so that it can be easily incorporated into the buttercream without the need for much more beating.
How to Fix a Curdled Cream Cheese Frosting
Now let’s just say, despite all your best efforts to prevent the cream cheese frosting from separating, it does. You’ll see that the mixture will become broken, sweaty and lumpy. Normally, a broken looking buttercream can usually come back together after beating some more. With the addition of the cream cheese, this doesn’t happen. The water separates from the cream cheese and the more you beat it, the worse it gets. Don’t throw the mixture away in frustration. I know, it will look so ugly that you might be tempted to.
To fix it, boil a pot of water and once it comes to a boil, hold the mixture (in a heat-proof boil) over the boiling water and let it heat up. Stir it gently to keep it moving. Once it has melted to an almost smooth consistency, immediately remove it off the heat. Let it cool to room temperature. ( I like to put it in the fridge for a few minutes to speed it up.) Beat it on low speed with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Now watch as it slowly and miraculously turns from a runny mixture into a thick and fluffy cream cheese frosting!
I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit of the thought and journey that went into creating this recipe. Recipe development for me takes days and multiple test batches because I like to work from scratch, I’m always excited to share the end result with all of you. Print out this recipe, try your hand at it and let me know how it goes.
Thanks so much for reading. Oh, I’ve also included a special pumpkin macaron template for you all to download too. See below.
Pumpkin Spice Macaron Shells
- 130 grams almond flour
- 130 grams icing sugar
- 100 grams egg whites
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (powder)
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 40 grams cream cheese* see note
- 65 grams egg whites
- 130 grams granulated sugar
- 195 grams butter at room temperature
Pumpkin Spice Filling
- 1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree* see note
- 1 egg
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 45 grams butter
- 1/2 tsp. grated ginger root
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Pumpkin Spice Macaron Shells
Instructions for Cheesecake Frosting
- Print out the big macaron template provided in post.
- Set aged egg whites out at room temperature.
- Pulse spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves) with the almond flour and icing sugar together in a food processor.
- Sift dry ingredients. Discard big pieces of almond that can't be sifted.
- IF YOU ARE NEW TO MAKING MACARONS, please read the instructions to my BEST MACARON RECIPE before attempting to follow the rest of the instructions since it is condensed for the advanced macaron baker
- With the balloon whisk attached, whip the room temperature egg whites on low-medium speed.
- Add cream of tartar when it becomes foamy.
- Turn up the speed to medium.
- Once the whisk starts to leave tracks in the egg whites, add sugar a little at a time.
- Turn the speed up to medium-high and whip until firm peaks, stop mixer and
add gel food color if desired. Continue whipping on medium-high until
- Fold the dry mix and meringue together until the batter becomes a "lava" or honey-like consistency.
- Transfer batter into a piping bag fitted with a #6 round piping tip.
- On parchment paper or silicone mats, pipe the big macaron cake shape.
- Rap the tray hard on the counter to remove any excess air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles.
- Wait until the shells become completely dry before baking. Depending on the humidity, this can be between 30 min. to an hour.
- Bake at 325F for 25-35 minutes. Every oven is different, you may need to adjust your own temperature settings. Please read How to Use Your Home Oven Properly for Baking Macarons if you are unsure.
- Macarons are done when the foot doesn't push back and the tops don't move when you wiggle it.
- Once baked, let cool completely before removing from the baking mat/parchment paper.
Instructions for Pumpkin Spice Filling
Set butter and cream cheese out at room temperature.
Beat the softened cream cheese until creamy. Do NOT over beat since it can cause the water to separate out from the cheese.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Place egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl. Stainless steel is light and safe.
Whisk the whites & sugar mix over the boiling water.
Pay attention to whisking the mixture when it starts getting hot, you don’t want to cook the eggs.
Whisk the mixture until the temperature reaches 160F. This temperature is generally accepted to be able to kill salmonella in eggs.
Pour the mixture into the Kitchenaid mixer and whisk on low with the balloon whisk, then turn it up to medium.
Once the mixture is stiff and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, stop mixer. Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment.
Add the room temperature butter a little bit at a time while beating with the paddle attachment at medium speed.
The mixture might look curdled or separated for a while but keep mixing. It will all come together.
Keep 100 grams of the buttercream for use in our current recipe. Freeze the rest of the buttercream for use at a later date.
Add the softened cream cheese into the buttercream and beat until incorporated. It should look very smooth and creamy. Do NOT over beat. Once the water comes out of the cream cheese, the mixture will curdle. If this happens, see how to fix it in the introduction to this post.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger root and mix until incorporated.
Add egg and mix until incorporated.
On the slowest speed, mix in the pumpkin puree until incorporated.
Pour mixture into a pot and cook it on med. heat until it reaches 180F.
Take off the heat and drain the excess liquid out with a strainer. Let
mixture sit on the strainer until all the liquid is drained out.
Place in the fridge for a minimum of five hours or overnight.
Pipe a ring of cream cheese frosting on the macaron shell and fill the center with a dallop of pumpkin spice filling.
Assemble the shells together, wait at least 12 hours and enjoy!
1. 100% pumpkin puree from a can was used in this recipe
2. If cream cheese is over beaten, the water will start to separate from it. Read the introduction in this post to learn how to fix it.
3. This is a higher moisture filling so it's best to consume it within 12-36 hours.
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- McCormick Gourmet, Premium Quality Natural Herbs & Spices, Organic Ground Cloves, 49g
- McCormick Gourmet, Premium Quality Natural Herbs & Spices, Organic Ground Nutmeg, 51g
- Organic Cinnamon, 69 gm
- McCormick Gourmet, Premium Quality Natural Herbs & Spices, Organic Ground Chinese Ginger, 42g
- Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Gluten Free Almond Flour, 3 Pound
- Toaster Oven Size Silpat Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat
- Regular Sized Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
- Food Processor for Almond Flour
- Heavy Duty Rimless Baking Pan for Macarons
Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 183Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 31mgSodium 85mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 1gSugar 17gProtein 2g