Coconut (nut-free) shells with a rum-spiked pineapple curd filling. Serve these up at your next cocktail party!
Made with coconut, these are bordering on macaroon status… but the prep is the same as a macaron so I’m torn…
I read a blog post on one of the Australian daily newspaper websites recently about food trends that the author thinks are past their use-by date. Top of the list were macarons and this line jumped out at me:
And can we please stop wildly experimenting with flavours for the macarons?
My first thought was “why should we?” It’s acceptable to make pies in all sorts of flavours, so why not macarons? The possibilities are endless because the basic recipe is so adaptable, and who wants to eat the same vanilla macs filled with chocolate ganache every day when there are so many possibilities? So I’m here to fight back against this negative attitude to my favourite cookie!
Makes 30 filled macarons
140g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
140g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
100g egg white (from approx. 3 eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g granulated (white) sugar
This recipe will make more than you need, so you can halve it if you like, or use the remaining curd over ice cream or in shortbread shells for a tasty dessert. Can be made several days ahead.
1 x 425g (15 oz) can pineapple in juice (270g or 9 1/2 oz drained, according to the can)
2 tsp rum (I used Bacardi Black because that’s what I had)
1 tbsp corn starch
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
30g butter (2 tbsp), diced, room temperature
Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets.
Mix the desiccated coconut and powdered sugar together then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture.
Sift into a large bowl, re-grinding as needed.
Add 50g egg whites and mix thoroughly into the coconut mixture. Set aside.
In another bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the other 50g egg whites to stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat on medium-low to 118°C (244°F).
While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm (you should get a beak when you lift the whisk) and shiny.
Scrape the meringue onto the coconut mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogenous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm plain tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.
Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. This batter is quite thick, so you may need to push any beaks down with a damp fingertip. Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
Bake the macarons for 18 minutes, one sheet at a time, turning the sheet half-way. These macarons brown more than nut-based ones, I guess it’s just something about the nature of coconut.
Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.
Drain the pineapple (reserve the juice for another use… I have something coming up soon!) and purée the flesh in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Combine pineapple, rum and corn starch in a small saucepan, then add the sugar. Heat on very low, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
Remove saucepan from heat and add the beaten egg yolks while whisking, then return it to the heat, increase heat to medium-low and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and the whisk leaves a trail, about 4 – 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and beat in the butter.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, allow to cool, then cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pipe or spoon a generous blob of filling onto the flat side of half the shells, top with the remaining shells and press gently until the filling reaches the edges.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for at least 24 hours before eating.