Pears and chocolate are one of those wonderful, classic, food combinations. Since one my sons is a chocoholic and the other prefers fruits, this was the perfect combination to delight them both. The gold dust sprinkled on top is just to be pretty, I brushed edible gold powder onto my mother’s birthday macarons (http://www.maiamingdesigns.com/single-post/2017/05/11/Rhubarb-Birthday-Macarons) which was very subtle and beautiful. By sprinkling the gold dust instead of brushing it onto these macarons, it glitters more. I’ve never used gold dust in my cooking prior to my macaron phase, but it’s beautiful, easy to apply, and adds a special touch of elegance.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups almond flour (150 gr.)

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (150 gr.)

3 egg whites, aged at room temperature (75 grams)

1/3 cup sugar (90 grams)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3-4 drops green food coloring

food-safe gold powder to sprinkle on top of macarons

PEAR CHOCOLATE GANACHE

50 gr. pear jelly

50 gr. semi-sweet cooking chocolate

I made a pear jelly which was rather laborious. If you can buy pear jelly, this would work just as well.

Pear jelly recipe: https://londoneats.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/what-to-do-with-windfall-pears/

(I actually used canned pears and their juice instead of fresh ones.)

DIRECTIONS

1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugar through a fine-mesh sieve. Re-grind any grains that are too coarse to fit through the sieve, otherwise the macaron shells won’t be smooth.

2. Blend egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute, then add cream of tartar and the regular sugar and blend another minute at low speed. Add the food coloring and blend 2 more minutes at high speed until egg whites are beaten into stiff, glossy peaks. The color density will depend on the strength and amount of your food coloring, but the color does lighten somewhat in baking. Setting a timer is useful while beating the egg whites, if the batter is over-whipped, the macarons get air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells, but you don’t want to under-whip the batter either.

3. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage until batter is glossy and flows like lava. Getting this right is part luck and part practice, there are countless videos online for how to achieve a proper macaronage!

4. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the

top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter.

5. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this onto a macaron mat which helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size. I also find the raised rims help contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper instead, but I love my macaron mats.

6. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. Drop them pretty hard, the objective is to knock out any remaining air bubbles. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.

7. Preheat oven to 160ºC.

8. Place the macarons in the middle of the oven. Bake macarons for 8 minutes and then take the tray out and face the front to the back. Bake for an additional 8 minutes, this way both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If your macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra. I think every oven is a little different, but this is the sweet spot in mine.

9. Pear jelly: buy or make your own following this recipe

What to do with windfall pears?

10. Pear Chocolate ganache. Melt semi-sweet cooking chocolate with a minimal amount of water, then mix in the pear jelly and reduce over a low heat. Let this mixture cool and thicken.

11. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread the ganache on half of the cookie shell bottoms, then sandwich the macaron with another shell on top. Repeat procedure with the remaining shells.

12. Sprinkle some gold powder between your fingers onto the cookie shells.

13. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer.

Serve your macarons with tea on a beautiful plate!

Black Eva teacups contrast with the white Eva platter. I like to mix and match the black and white pieces in my teaware.

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