These elegant Hazelnut Pear French Macarons are filled with a Frangelico-infused fresh pear filling, which also conceals caramelized diced pear. This tiny package offers complex textures and irresistible flavors that are perfect for cooler seasons!
For the Frangelico pear cream filling: In a nonstick skillet, combine the diced pears and maple syrup. Set over medium-high heat and bring the syrup to a boil while stirring constantly. If using fresh pears, keep cooking and stirring until the pears are tender, about 3 minutes. If using canned pears, cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Transfer the pears to a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and blend until smooth. (You can also use a stick blender to make the pear puree.) Transfer the pear puree to a saucepan and set over medium heat. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar, then keep whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, about 8 minutes. Once the mixture boils, keep whisking vigorously for 1 minute, then take off the heat.
Whisk in the Frangelico. Strain the Frangelico Pear Cream through a fine-mesh strainer. Let the mixture cool about 15 minutes, or until lukewarm to the touch. Pour the mixture back into the blender or food processor. Add the butter and process until the mixture is smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Transfer the Frangelico Pear Cream to a bowl or an airtight container and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (The Frangelico pear cream will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.)
For the hazelnut macaron shells: **Return the egg whites to room temperature at least an hour before making the macarons.**
In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, toasted hazelnuts, and powdered sugar, then process until the hazelnuts are finely ground and the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, 30 seconds to a minute. Sift the mixture to make sure no lumps or bigger bits of nuts are left.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice on medium-high speed until frothy, about 1 minute, then slowly pour in the granulated sugar. After 2 minutes, add the gel food coloring, if using. Keep beating until the egg whites are stiff, dense and creamy, about 3 minutes more.
Add the hazelnut, 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 come back up to the top. Do this about 6 times to incorporate the dry ingredients, then keep folding for a total of about 14 strokes until no pockets of dry ingredients remain and the mixture drops from the side of the spatula in a slow, lazy ribbon. Start testing the ribbon stage early to avoid overfolding.
Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Cut out the parchment paper so it fits exactly over the bottom of the sheet to make sure the macarons will lay flat. Slide macaron templates under the parchment paper, if using.
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. 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.
For the caramelized pear garnish: In a nonstick skillet, combine the finely diced pear, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Set over medium-high heat and bring the liquids to a boil while stirring constantly, then keep cooking, stirring from time to time, for about 3 minutes.
To assemble the macarons: Pair same-sized shells together and set them side by side on a work surface. Transfer the Frangelico Pear Cream to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe some of the cream around the edge of half of the shells. Tuck a small spoonful of caramelized pears in the center of the pear cream. Close the macarons, gently pressing the second shells over the filling.
STORAGE: Store the assembled Hazelnut Pear French Macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for one night before indulging.French macarons will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. You can also freeze these assembled macarons in an airtight container for up to 1 month, but if you do, I recommend omitting the caramelized pear garnish, as this risks turning the shells soggy upon thawing.
SERVING: Always bring these Hazelnut Pear French Macarons back to room temperature before serving.
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