Most pies are pretty wonderful, but for me, pumpkin pie has definitely been an acquired taste.  As a child I remember always thinking it looked great but tasted…weird.  I think it was mostly the texture that threw me off.  Whatever it was, it had me thinking that all pumpkin things were no good.  During my first year of med school when I first caught the baking bug, the weather turned chilly, the leaves started to fall, and out of nowhere, I decided to bake a few pumpkin pies.  That was my reintroduction to pumpkin and as you can see, I haven’t looked back.

Now each fall I celebrate my favorite season by making all the classics, as well as putting a fall-inspired spin on less traditional treats.  I’ve always wanted to make a pumpkin pie macaron but was never quite sure how to execute it.  When I saw this brilliant idea from Steph at Cupcake project for using the baked filling of a pumpkin pie (minus the crust), I knew I had my answer.  The macaron shells include a hint of pecans and pumpkin pie spice, and the filling is classic pumpkin pie.  The combination is everything I was hoping for, and I loved the pairing of the chewy-crisp texture of the macaron paired with the creamy pumpkin pie.  If you have more suggestions for fall or holiday-inspired mac flavors, send them my way.  I’d love to give them a shot!

  • Yield about 20 sandwich cookies


For the macaron shells:
6 oz. slivered or blanched almonds
1½ oz. chopped pecans
9¾ oz. confectioners’ sugar
1 oz. (1 tbsp.) pumpkin pie spice
3 large egg whites (about 100 grams)
1½ tsp. cream of tartar

For the pumpkin pie filling:
1¼ cups pumpkin puree
6 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
2½ tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the macaron shells, line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Have a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip ready (I use Ateco #809).  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and pecans.  Pulse until mostly well ground.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice to the bowl and continue to process in brief pulses until the nuts are finely ground and the mixture is even.  Set aside.

  • 02

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar.  Whip on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.  Add about one third of the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites and fold in gently with a spatula.  Fold in the remaining nut mixture in two additions, just until the ingredients are combined and no lumps or streaks remain.  The batter will be fairly thick.  Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag.  Pipe 1-inch circles, about ½-inch thick, onto the prepared baking sheets spacing them about 1 inch apart.  (They will spread slightly after piping but don’t worry.)  Allow the cookies to rest at room temperature uncovered for 2 hours.  (This step helps the cookies develop the delicate exterior crust and “foot” on the bottom.)

  • 03

    Preheat the oven to 300˚ F and set oven racks in the the lower half of the oven.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the macarons appear set but are not browned, about 12-14 minutes.  Let cool.  (To ensure adequate drying of the cookies, I like to shut off the oven at the end of baking, prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon, and let the shells cool slowly in the oven.)  Once the cookies are cool, carefully remove them from the baking mats and transfer to a wire rack, matching them up in pairs by size.

  • 04

    To make the filling, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Combine the pumpkin puree, sugars, flour, salt and spices in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the egg and egg yolks, then the cream, milk and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Pour into a small lightly greased baking dish (I used a 9-inch oval baker).  Bake about 50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until just set and the mixture no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is gently shaken.  Let cool on a wire rack completely, at least two hours.

  • 05

    Scoop the baked pumpkin pie filling into a mixing bowl and beat briefly with an electric mixer just until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.  Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Pipe a small dollop of the pumpkin pie mixture onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair.  Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.