This festive stack of almond macarons, cranberry buttercream, and cranberry-orange white chocolate ganache is sure to “wow” family and friends. A bit of work but worth it!
Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Tree - Gaston's Tavern - Magic Kingdom Park
Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Tree is a group of almond macarons layered with cranberry-orange filling.
CRANBERRY SWISS BUTTERCREAM
CRANBERRY-ORANGE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
FOR CRANBERRY SWISS BUTTERCREAM:
Cream butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, and food coloring. Beat on medium speed until combined.
Combine egg whites and sugar in a double boiler or heat-safe bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Continue cooking, stirring often, until egg whites reach a temperature of 140°F. Transfer to clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip at high speed for 10 minutes, until egg whites reach a temperature of 70-80°F.
Add butter mixture to egg whites. Whip on high speed for 10-15 minutes, until buttercream becomes smooth and fluffy.
Add in cranberry purée, 1/4 cup at a time, allowing buttercream to become smooth after each addition.
Store in an airtight container for up to 6 days.
FOR CRANBERRY-ORANGE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
Place white chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine corn syrup, heavy cream, cranberry purée, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until simmering. Pour over white chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk to fully melt chocolate. Add butter and purée with an immersion blender.
Cool to room temperature before filling macarons. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days if not using right away.
FOR ALMOND MACARONS:
Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. On 2 of the baking sheets, draw 12 3-inch circles for a total of 24 3-inch circles. On the 3rd baking sheet, draw 24 2-inch circles. Draw 24 1-inch circles on the 4th baking sheet.
Pulse powdered sugar and almond flour in a large food processor until combined. Set aside.
Combine 6 of the egg whites, almond flour, powdered sugar, and food coloring in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until mixture forms a paste. Set aside.
Whip the remaining 6 egg whites in a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for 7 minutes, until medium peaks form.
While egg whites are whipping, heat granulated sugar and water in a heavy saucepan until it reaches a temperature of 245°F. Carefully pour into egg whites while the mixer is running, making sure not to let any syrup hit the sides of the bowl.
Whip for an additional 15 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch.
Fold 1/4 of the egg whites at a time into the reserved almond flour mixture, using a rubber spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
Carefully fill each drawn circle on the baking sheets with filling, starting from the center of each circle. Let macarons dry at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours, until they are no longer wet to touch. FOR ALMOND MACARONS (cont.):
Bake macarons for 12-17 minutes, until completely dry.
Cool on baking sheets. Do not remove from baking sheets until macarons are at room temperature.
Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Tree:
Spoon cranberry orange white chocolate ganache in a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
Spoon cranberry Swiss buttercream in a piping bag fitted with small star tip.
Pipe a thin layer of ganache, the size of a nickel, into the center of each 3-inch macaron. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outside of the ganache. Top with 2-inch macaron then repeats with ganache and buttercream. Add 1-inch macaron to the top and pipe a very small amount of buttercream on top. Repeat until all trees are assembled.
Decorate with yellow star candies and edible glitter to resemble a Christmas tree.
Cranberry purée is available online and at some specialty markets. You can also make your own by simmering 1 pound of fresh or frozen cranberries in 1 1/2 cups of pomegranate juice with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until cranberries are soft and begin to break. Cool to room temperature and purée in blender until smooth. Strain through a mesh strainer, if desired.
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