Spice Bread macarons with pain d’épice cream in the center

Autumn is here and fresh fruit is becoming rare apart from apples and pears, which are making their happy little way to the table in many shapes and flavors…but we’ll go into that another day. Anita of Dessert First wisely chose spices as Sugar High Friday’s theme to welcome autumn. I love spices… this week I tasted a tonka bean… luscious… but I unknowingly bit into the whole bean and whew! a bitter wind burned into my taste buds, but left a delightful warmth, a bit like vanilla, but richer like coffee…

My schedule is packed with working, studying, cleaning house, and on top of it, I’m so tired lately. (I went to bed at 4:30pm yesterday, and slept until 4:10am this morning. It’s about 6:30pm now, so I’m hoping to get to bed in the next hour…ah, sleep…). Needless to say, I wanted a recipe that was easy and fast. I flipped open a book about macarons and saw them: macarons au pain d’épice. (I have a pain d’épice drying out in the cupboard, so it was a nice excuse to use it.) But what is pain d’épice you might wonder…

Pain d’épice is sort of like gingerbread, but with lots of honey. It’s quite à la mode as of recent, especially in ice cream and custards, and it is a nice winter cake, sweet and spicy, and conserves well.

A pinch of 5 spices to spice the macarons (from right to left) : cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cubebe. Cubebe is a pepper spice from India often found in ras-el-hanout, a mixture of 35 spices for tajines.

Macarons are fabulous little cookies… the cream filled ones that we see so often today were invented in Paris in the 1930s by Pierre Desfontaine, the grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée. But macarons have been around for much longer, and there are also Italian versions.

My macarons didn’t quite turn out to be honest. They didin’t get that lovely little round puff that they are known for. They were, on the other hand, delicious, and sprinkled with cane sugar that sparkled like little diamonds in low light.

Recipe for macarons au pain d’épice:

for the macarons:

7 egg whites
50 g sugar
1 tsp cream of tarter (or lemon juice and a pinch of salt)
450 g powdered sugar
250 g almond powder
a pinch of spice

In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs with the cream of tarter until doubled in volume. Add the sugar and continue whipping until hard peaks. Sift together the powdered sugar, almond powder and spices. Fold into the egg whites until the mixture is shiny and firm.

Fill a pastry bag with the mixture. Pipe 3 cm circles onto waxed paper on a baking sheet. Tap the underside of the sheet to release air bubbles and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Cook at 150°C/325°F for about 12 minutes

for the pain d’épice cream:

200 g pain d’épice, gingerbread, or honey-spice bread
100 g butter
100 g heavy whipping cream

In a mixture, mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth cream.

Garnish the macarons and sandwich together. Sprinkle with sugar and spice and serve to people who are nice. 🙂


One comment

  1. Pingback: Sugar High Friday: Spice Up Your Life! Part Two

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