These elegant Strawberry Rhubarb French Macarons are the perfect summer treats: bursting with the juiciness of fresh strawberries and the tickling tartness of rhubarb, they deliver a ton of flavor in a tiny package!
For the rhubarb buttercream: In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb, water, and granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the rhubarb breaks apart, about 5 minutes. Use a stick blender to puree the rhubarb mixture to a super smooth consistency. Transfer to a shallow bowl and refrigerate to cool completely.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer, and beat for a minute to soften. Add half the powdered sugar and beat on low speed to moisten the sugar, then increase the speed to incorporate fully.Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the cooled rhubarb puree and beat to incorporate fully. Incorporate the remaining powdered sugar. At this point, the buttercream should be fairly thick, so add more rhubarb buttercream to reach a creamy, but not too loose consistency (you will probably have a bit of puree leftover). Beat on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and set aside until ready to assemble the macarons.
For the macaron shells: *Return the egg whites to room temperature at least an hour before making the macaron shells.*
In the bowl of a food processor, add the powdered sugar and almond flour, and process until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, 30 seconds to a minute. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to make sure no lumps or bigger bits of almonds are left.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large stainless steel mixing bowl if using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium/high speed until frothy. Add a tablespoon of the granulated sugar, continue whisking at medium-low speed, then add the remaining sugar slowly. Increase the speed medium-high and whisk until the egg whites are bright white and create stiff peaks. At low speed, mix in a few drops pink gel food coloring, to your liking.
Add the almond and powdered sugar mixture to the egg whites and, using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients: slide your spatula all the way to the bottom of the bowl and comes back up to the top. Do this about 6 times to incorporate the dry ingredients, then keep folding for a total of about 14 times until no pockets of dry ingredients remain and the mixture drops from the side of the spatula in a slow, lazy ribbon. Start testing early to make sure not to overfold.
Transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (1.25-cm) round tip. Pipe 1 ½-inch (3.8-cm) rounds of batter, evenly spaced but still close to one another as they will not expand much.
Carefully slide the macaron templates off the baking sheets, if you used them. Lightly sprinkle the macaron shells with a pinch of strawberry-flavored sugar, if using. Let the shells rest on the baking sheets for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C) with a rack set to the middle position. Bake each sheet of macaron shells for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the shells are firm on their feet when you lightly tap on them with the tip of a finger.
Let the shells cool completely to room temperature before assembling them, about an hour.
To assemble the macarons: Take the pâtes de fruits out of the refrigerator. Pull the mixture out of the baking dish using the overhanging wax paper and set over a cutting board. Detail about 28 small, thin squares of pâtes de fruits: each piece should be about 0.4-in cm) square and 0.2-in (0.5 cm) thick. Cut the rest of the pâtes de fruits into bite-sized cubes and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to enjoy later.
Pair same-sized shells together and set them side by side on a work surface. Transfer the honey orange filling to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe some filling over half of the shells. Tuck a tiny piece of honeycomb into the filling of each macaron, if using. Close the macarons, gently pressing the second shell over the filling.
Store the assembled Strawberry Rhubarb French Macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before indulging.
Always bring these Strawberry Rhubarb French Macarons back to room temperature before serving.
NOTE: This recipe makes about twice the amount of frosting you need to fill the macarons. Use the remaining frosting to garnish a cake or cupcakes, or freeze it in an airtight container until you make a new batch of macaron shells. Simply defrost the buttercream by placing the container in the fridge overnight, or an hour at room temperature. Whisk vigorously to soften before using.
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