I have to admit that I’ve never really celebrated the Kentucky Derby, mostly because the first weekend in May is typically reserved for Cinco de Mayo festivities. I decided to change that this year though. The more I researched Kentucky Derby parties, the more I realized that I have been missing out. One of the desserts that I came across quite a few times was Derby Pie which is a pecan, chocolate, and bourbon tart. While the tart looked super delicious, I typically prefer to serve bite sized desserts at parties. That’s when I realized, that the pie would be the perfect inspiration for a macaron.
While I’ve made macarons with hazelnut meal and of course the traditional almond flour, I’ve never tried them with pecan meal. I couldn’t find pecan meal at my grocery store and so this was also my first time using my food processor to grind nuts into meal. Luckily, both worked out really well. I think the key to my success, is the fact that I weigh out the meal in my macaron recipes which makes it easy to switch from one variety of nut meal to another without having to worry about the differences in bulk density (sometimes a degree in chemical engineering does come in handy when baking). Once I figured out how to adapt my Vanilla Macaron recipe, it was smooth sailing. The end result was cookies that had a great pecan and bourbon flavor. Then it was time to make the filling. At first I thought I would just make a bourbon ganache, but I decided to add toasted pecans to give it a bit more texture and make it more similar to a true Derby Pie. The results were absolutely delicious.
Macarons are unique in the fact that they actually taste better after they have been refrigerated overnight. While they’ll last in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, they can be frozen for up to three months. This makes them perfect for a party because you can get them all made up and frozen a few weeks before your party and on the day of you just need to take them out of the freezer 20 minutes be for serving.
Are you going to or throwing a Kentucky Derby Party? What desserts will be on your menu?