I enjoy wandering the various stalls at our local Farmer’s Market to see what the local farmers are selling. This year, when the market re-opened during late spring, early summer, I found locally grown rhubarb and strawberries, which inspired my Strawberry-Rhubarb Macarons. These macarons have strawberry in the cookie, and filled with a delicious rhubarb buttercream and strawberry jam.
2 cups rhubarb, 3-4 stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
150 grams powdered sugar
124 grams almond flour
1 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberry powder
100 grams egg whites, room temp (about 3)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
65 grams castor sugar (ultra fine), about 1/4 cup
3-4 drops food coloring gel, if desired
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons rhubarb syrup
3-4 drops food coloring gel, if desired
1/4 cup strawberry jam, divided
In a medium pot, bring rhubarb, sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil on medium-high heat; reduce to medium low and simmer until rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh seive, or cheesecloth, into a medium bowl. Rinse out pot, return syrup to pot and reduce down to about 1/4 cup of syrup. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, almond flour, and strawberry powder until blended. Sift almond flour mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl. If there is only a pinch of large chunks remaining, toss them out.
In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy; add cream of tartar, Whip until eggs start leaving a trail; add castor sugar 1/3 at a time. Whip until stiff peaks form (when you pull out the whisk the peak should be stiff and not droopy, and you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing comes out.). Add food coloring during the last minute of whipping. Add the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, into the egg whites and gently fold in until fully incorporated (do not over mix, it should be like thick pancake or brownie batter, and you can make a figure eight).
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Make a template of 1-1/2″ circles about 2-inches apart on printer paper (about 20 to a baking sheet 5 across by 4 down). Place printer paper between baking sheet and parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip (#1A) and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers. The peaks in the center should fall, if they don’t wet your finger and pat the peak down. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for 15-60 minutes,to allow the cookies to dry to the touch and develop their crusts. While the cookies are standing at room temperature, preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Once the cookies are dry to the touch, bake, one cookie sheet at a time, at 320 degrees F. for 14-16 minutes, until the top does not wiggly from the feet (error on the side of overcooked). Cool slightly, remove from parchment (they should release, if not, use an offset spatula) Let cool completely. Match up same size cookies with one top side up, and the other filling side up.
RHUBARB BUTTERCREAM FILLING
While cookies are drying, beat together unsalted butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar, beat until combined, light and fluffy. Add rhubarb syrup, continue to beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to piping bag with a #12 tip.
Pipe the rhubarb buttercream, in a circle on each filling side up cookie. Add a 1/2 tsp. dollop of strawberry jam in the middle of the buttercream. Press 2 cookies together until filling comes to the edge. Place in an airtight container, place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (so the shells absorb the flavor of the filling). Take the cookies out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, to bring back to room temp.