How to make pumpkin spice filling for macarons with roasted red kuri squash (potimarron pumpkin) – the perfect macaron for Hallowe’en and a taste of Autumn from Paris.
Oof! It has been a real marathon so it’s good to be back finally on le blog. These past few months have been challenging. Juggling the stress of house renovations, a new bricolage world of riveting French DIY vocabulary has blossomed and I’ve even dabbled in some interior design (I made the plans for my office). I realised all this work has left its mark when I found myself glancing at the paint and tile colours in a few Parisian pâtisseries BEFORE looking at the cakes!
The most exciting project has been with the new book, Teatime in Paris: writing, recipe testing and taking hundreds of photos … all around teatime.
I’ve never really understood why the French don’t seem to be that much into pumpkin. So, when I bought a potimarron pumpkin last week at the market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a lovely French lady in the queue asked me what I did with it. Well, here’s one of my recipes!
For more on pumpkins, check out my new pumpkin (courges) page at the French market for random facts and recipes.
Pumpkin Purée and Pumpkin Spice
For sweet recipes, there isn’t any pumpkin purée in the French shops, an ingredient that appears to be familiar with most of my American blogger friends at this time of year. When I looked up some macaron recipes, there wasn’t even any pumpkin in them – instead simply ‘pumpkin pie spice’, another ingredient that’s difficult to find here. So there was only one thing for it: to make my own pumpkin purée and find a quick spicy alternative.
What is Potimarron in English?
What’s Potimarron in English? Apparently it’s Red Kuri, Japanese Squash or Orange Hokkaido. It’s darker than pumpkin without the ridges and has a more intense, even chestnut-like texture and flavour (as the French name implies: marron, meaning chestnut). What I love about it is, unlike pumpkin, you can eat the skin.
I remembered a post by David Lebovitz about how to roast potimarron or red kuri squash: he dribbled olive oil over the slices, added herbs and roasted in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 200°C. I tried this method using potimarron in my favourite pumpkin, leek and ginger soup (try this with mini curry macarons from my first book) and it’s delicious.
Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Base
My inspiration for these pumpkin spice macarons started when David mentioned that the Red Kuri squash slices could also be roasted with brown sugar and cinnamon. Instead I used pain d’épices or gingerbread spice, the French’s closest quick answer to pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & all-spice powder).
In case some of you have hands up in horror, wondering why there are no Hallowe’en decorations on these macarons – I’m ridiculously scared of spiders and anything in the least bit squirmish; perhaps I grew up with too many Scottish ghost stories!
Tip for Macaron Fruit Fillings
One word about using fruit purées for macaron fillings: it can make macarons become rather soggy. One tip is to add ground almonds (almond flour) to soak up the juices which I’ve done in this recipe.
So the good news with this recipe is that for impatient macaronivores, you can eat this macaron after only 6 hours in the fridge and finish them the next day. Any longer and they will turn slightly soggy – but the taste is divine and full of healthy, spicy squash! I wouldn’t recommend keeping the pumpkin spice macarons any longer than 2 days or even freezing them as you would for all the macaron recipes in my book. If you prefer to keep them longer like in the books, use equal quantities of purée, melted white chocolate and whipping cream.
How to Make the Macaron Shells
Instructions how to make the macaron shells are given step-by-step in both my books, Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris. Just add a dash of powdered colouring (I use a pinch of red and yellow) and a teaspoon of pumpkin spice or pain d’épices to the meringue.
Pumpkin Spice Macarons:
Filling with Roasted Red Kuri
This recipe is ideal for serving later in the day. Just chill in the fridge for 6 hours. Best eaten within a couple of days. The basic French recipe for macaron shells are well explained, step by step in both my books Mad About Macarons! and Teatime in Paris! (150g egg whites for about 40 macarons).
Pumpkin Spice Macaron Filling
For Roasting the Chestnut Pumpkin (Potimarron)
- 1/2 red kuri squash or chestnut pumpkin (potimarron)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp pumpkin spice
- 2 g (@2g) gelatine sheet
- 2 egg yolks organic
- 50 g (2oz) brown sugar
- 50 g (2oz) whipping cream (30% fat)
- 100 g (4oz) roasted red kuri/chestnut pumpkin (about half)
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice or pain d'épices
- 2 tbsp ground almonds (almond flour)
- 100 g (4oz) mascarpone chilled
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Cut the kuri squash in 2 and, using only half of it, scoop out the seeds. Cut into slices and place on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkling with the brown sugar and spice. Cover with aluminium foil and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the slices. When ready, set aside to cool then purée using a mixer or by hand with a masher. Weigh out 100g of purée.
- For the cream, soak the gelatine in cold water for about 15 minutes. In a bowl, hand-whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy. Heat the cream in a saucepan until nearly boiling, then whisk into the yolk mixture then transfer back to the pan over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens (rather like a pastry cream).
- Take off the heat, add the gelatine (squeeze of excess water) to the warm cream, whisking until melted then add the purée, ground almonds and spice. Set aside to cool then chill for about an hour.
- Hand-whisk in the mascarpone then transfer the cream to a piping bag with a 1cm plain tip. Pipe onto half of the shells then assemble with the remaining macaron shell tops and chill in the fridge.