As much as I bemoan the drop in temperatures, I actually secretly love fall/ autumn. You know, for all the obvious reasons: that slight nip in the air signalling the change of seasons, the colours of the foliage, the hint of woodsmoke in the air. I also love the fact that the water temperature is actually at its warmest. Unlike summer, where swimming can be put off for another time, we don’t waste a chance for a dip on a warm autumn day because we never know if it’s our last for the year. (Yes I know there are people who go swimming in winter but that’s just masochistic).
But best of all, I love being in the kitchen when it’s cooler. Stews and soups reappear on the menu, baking becomes almost a necessity and cups of tea are requisite. Like a squirrel, I start laying down stockpiles of chocolate for the winter. I hardly crave any in the warmer weather, but when it’s cold and gray outside, I pity anyone who’s around me when supplies run low.
So it wasn’t hard to decide what to make for the fall theme. I was quite surprised when I realised I’d never attempted chocolate macaron shells before. How did that happen? I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, found here, and I followed it with a few minor tweaks. I weighed the egg whites, using 70g, and I also baked the macarons at a lower temperature (around 150˚C) than the recipe called for.
For the filing, I used chestnuts. This was also an easy decision, nothing says cooler weather to me than the arrival of chestnuts. Ah, I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t it almost summer where you are Shaz?” Well, I had done that squirrel thing at the end of the last chestnut season and stashed some away in the freezer. Sometimes I amaze even myself ;P
I still have issues with my beating. The top shell was fine but the bottom shell had a bit of "doming" (which I think is caused by underbeating??)
I made a sweet chestnut puree by simmering about 2 cups of peeled chestnuts in 1 1/2 cups of sugar syrup. (My syrup = 3/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1 1/2 cup hot water). When the chestnuts were soft, I blitzed them in food processor.The I whipped 1/2 cup pure cream until stiff peaks formed, and mixed half a cup of the cooled chestnut puree through the cream. I stored the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge.
The bitterness of the cocoa powder and the mild filling make these chocolate chestnut macarons just right for those with a not-so-sweet tooth. The family loved them, as did I.
“Fall into love with macarons all over again,” said the brief. I’ve never fallen out of love!
Thanks for the fun theme Jamie and Deeba! Don’t forget to check out what the rest of the Mactweet gang has come up with.