Here’s a truism: Whether you’re hosting dinner at your home for the holiday, heading to a potluck party or having an intimate dinner with your sweetie, a Thanksgiving feast isn’t quite complete without pumpkin making an appearance in some fashion.

Photo by Becca Wright

Photo by Becca Wright

Instead of regretfully force-feeding yourself pumpkin pie, why not try your hand at this recipe for pumpkin macarons, courtesy of pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez from The Houstonian Hotel? From one host to another, we can tell you that Rodriguez’s pumpkin macarons – this year’s take-away treat at the 2015 Houston Culinary Awards dinner in early October – were a big hit and made for very happy guests.


11 oz. ground almonds
11 oz. powdered sugar
4 oz. egg whites
1 tsp. orange food coloring or color emulsion gel
4 oz. egg whites
1 oz. superfine sugar
11 oz. superfine sugar
4 oz. water

METHOD Blend the ground almonds and sugar in a food processor. Sieve the mixture to aerate the mass. Stir in the egg whites and mix well. Stir in the food coloring and mix again. Set side.

Add 4 oz. egg whites and 4 oz. superfine sugar to a mixer bowl and begin whipping. While the egg whites whip, cook 11 oz. superfine sugar with 4 oz. water until it reaches 234°F. Then very gradually pour the sugar-water syrup into the egg whites while continuing to whip to create a meringue. Whip the meringue until it is cooled down (the side of the bowl will be cool to the touch).

Fold the meringue into the almond mixture with a rubber spatula in batches until the batter turns shiny, smooth and quite runny. Using a pastry bag, pipe drops of macaron batter using #804-#806 piping tip. Grate fresh nutmeg across the top of the macarons. Tap the sheet of macaron cookies on the counter to settle the batter.

Bake at 350°F for about 12 to 15 minutes. The macarons are ready when you can easily lift them from the baking sheet without sticking. Yields 80 macaron cookies (40 finished macarons).

8 oz. sugar
4 oz. egg whites
10.5 oz. butter
1/2 tsp. salt 
8 oz. pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
dash of ground clove
dash of grated nutmeg
dash of allspice
2 1/4 tsp. brandy

METHOD Add sugar to egg whites and place in a mixer bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. (Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl) Whisk sugar and egg whites together until 160°F. Attach mixing bowl to mixer and begin beating using a whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until glossy stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch. Add butter one piece at a time and continue mixing until meringue and butter have emulsified into a silky, smooth buttercream. Add pumpkin puree, spices and brandy and mix to combine.

Fill a pastry bag with buttercream and pipe onto the flat surface of the macarons. Place another macaron cookie on top of the buttercream to complete the treat.