This was an experiment but the filling’s so yummy and easy to make I wanted to share these macarons with you immediately! And say happy lunar new year to you! If you celebrate I hope you’re having a lovely time with mountains of delicious food naturally. I’ve been making pineapple tarts, those traditional new year cookies with only egg yolk in the pastry so there were surplus egg whites pleading to be whipped up into macarons. And there’s been a flu virus whooshing its way around Barcelona that’s left me weak and a little feverish yet curiously able to function in the kitchen with extra time on my hands to paint edible roosters. Lol. Sorry, back to the point: these raspberry and black pepper cheesecake macarons are delicious! They’re almost savoury with a lovely hit of freshly-ground black pepper in the Philadelphia cream cheese layer. Then the fruity layer is fresh raspberry purée set with gelatine (you could use agar agar) and sweetened with a little sugar. Close your eyes as you savour them and you’ll be reminded of a light, delicious cheesecake with a beautiful balance of textures and flavours! Open your eyes and you’ll see a collection of dinky roosters interspersed with lotus flowers! 🙂
THE RECIPE – for 30 macarons
I invented this recipe. Yay! It’s inspired by my belief that macaron fillings should be as savoury, zingy, tangy or fresh as possible to counterbalance the sweetness of the shells. You can play around with the quantity of black pepper and the ratio of cream cheese to raspberry layer. It’s all very flexible. My friend (and teatime cake tester) loved these best sweeter but actually adored them all, saying the black pepper really belonged there! She closed her eyes and say ‘hmmm’ at every first bite. Not ‘hmmm’ as in ‘what am I eating?’ but as in ‘yum yum, I’m in macaron heaven.’
Macaron shells (bake 60 shells to make 30 macarons)
There’s no need to paint roosters. Just have pink macaron shells to reflect the raspberry filling. Follow your own macarons recipe or use my step-by-step instructions for Italian macaron shells in the basics section – they’re very do-able! Cool completely before filling and if you prefer make the day before (store in airtight tupperware at room temperature).
Optional rooster decoration: do this before filling. Draw the outline of the roosters with a red edible food pen. Add a little water to edible gold powder and with a thin paintbrush fill in the roosters and add dots around the edge. Then use tweezers to put a little edible gold paper on the tail to add height and the idea of a shimmering flame, because 2017 is a fire rooster year!
You can also draw lotus flowers or anything you like! Perhaps some hearts for Valentine’s Day?
Filling (for 30 macarons)
These inserts can be made up to a month before and kept in the freezer wrapped in plastic film in airtight tupperware. Defrost a little before using.
- 190ml/g (3/4 cup) raspberry juice (from about 300g/10.5oz frozen or fresh raspberries)
- 23g/1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 5g/2 and 1/2 sheets gelatine
You can use shallow silicone moulds like these, filling around 2-3mm high (maybe 4mm).
You need rounds about the same size or diametre as your macarons so alternatively you could use a silicone tray then cut out rounds with a cutter when the jelly’s set but not too frozen.
Cream cheese layer
Quantities depend on how big your macarons are and on taste (how much cream cheese you’d like in each macaron) so please adapt.
- 225g/8oz Philadelphia cream cheese (or some other brand) at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon (more or less) freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Beat the cheese with the freshly-ground black pepper to combine well.
Pipe a layer of cream cheese on a macaron shell. Top with a raspberry layer and the decorated shell. Smooth the filling by going around the edge with a finger.
Tada! A yummy macaron! They’re a bit higher than my usual macarons so next time I could make the raspberry layer a little thinner. Another possibility is a ring of cream cheese with a small circle of raspberry jelly inside. But with these higher ones there’s a nice ratio of filling to shell, making the macarons tastier and more refreshing.
Eating and storing
Once filled store in the fridge. Keep on a tray uncovered 24 hours then store in airtight tupperware. The jelly and cream cheese make these macarons soften rapidly so you can eat them almost immediately but preferably after 1 or 2 hours. They’re best eaten the same day. The next day they’ll be tasty but softer and the jelly layer starts colouring the cream cheese. You can store the cream cheese mixture separately in the fridge, and the macaron shells and raspberry inserts in the freezer, then assemble macarons every few days.
These aren’t exactly healthy (despite the raspberry juice?!). But they are gluten-free treats so I’m taking them to Free From Fridays hosted by Mel@lecoindemel and Emma@Freefromfarmhouse. Do check out the great ‘free-from’ recipes there!
And please help yourselves to a macaron or two, or three…! Um… they’re not very sweet so they feel very light and both my friend and I managed to eat six in a row (or was it more?) but don’t tell anyone. Quality control you know. 🙂
Bidding you a fond farewell sweet reader and a fire-cracking start to the rooster new year! May it be a wonderful one for you with… yes, lots of happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x
P.S. Cock-a-doodle-doo! Sorry, been dying to say that…
Wow. Very creative Chinese New Year touch on macarons! Great looking!
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Thank you for your lovely words! Happy you like them. 🙂
Lili, these are the most adorable macarons I have ever seen! It’s such a cute design, and the colours go so well with the macaron shell, especially the shimmery gold. And such an intriguing flavour combination! I always love a bit of sweet-savoury ambiguity 🙂
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Aw thanks for the sweet comments Laurie! I’m very happy you like the macarons and yes sweet-savoury stuff is great, especially with macarons so they don’t end up too sweet. 🙂
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Thank you! 🙂
How original! I never would have thought to put black pepper in macarons! Honestly, I’m not even sure I’d want to taste one before reading this, even though I love raspberry AND black pepper (just haven’t had them together before). This recipe looks great though and I’d definitely have to try it one day. And I love the Rooster design.
If possible, could you please check out my blog as well? Thanks!
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