Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Pistachio macarons

I know, I haven't posted for ages, things have been super busy at work and I haven't had time to just sit down and write a blog post! hope to make this up to you know by sharing my recipe for pistachio macarons. These really are something quite special - with their intense pistachio and almost marzipan-like flavour. The ground pistachio within the shells can make them a little temperamental (yes, even more so than usual), but they're well worth the effort and the end result can proudly stand up against a pistachio macaron from any established patisserie. Purists may say that you should use only ground pistachio for the shells but I don't agree, pistachios seem more oily that almonds and that difference can be detrimental to the finished macaron. I find 20g ground pistachio to 50g almonds means that the batter is much more manageable and the macarons are much more likely to be successful. More importantly the pistachio flavour still comes through - and you'll find your kitchen is filled with the aroma of roasting pistachio as the shells bake. The filling is lightly sweetened and marscapone based and contains roasted pistachio butter (yum!)

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The ingredients (makes approximately 30 3.5 cm shells)

For the shells you will need:

- 50 g ground almonds
- 20 g ground pistachios
- 60 g icing sugar
- 52 g egg whites (aged for at least 24 hours)
- 52 g caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp gel or powder food colouring
- 1 tsp cornflour

For the pistachio filling you will need:

- 60 g marscapone
- 15 g pistachio paste
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 drop almond extract*

*sounds weird I know - almond extract? But through some bizarre alchemical process the almond extract doesn't make the macarons taste almondy, but rather seems to enhance the pistachio flavour...

If you don’t have pistachio paste you can easily make it by grinding up 100 g unsalted, roasted pistachios in a food processor and slowly adding 1/2 a tablespoon of ground nut oil until the mixture comes together and has a peanut butter-like consistency

French meringue macaron recipe

For a detailed and illustrated step-by-step guide to making my macaron shells, please see my french meringue macaron recipe

  1. Firstly prepare the ground pistachio by whizzing up in a food processor to a consistency that matches your ground almonds. I never sieve my ground almonds (I buy them ready-ground) but if you grind your own pistachios you must sieve out the bigger chunks of pistachio. If you don't do this, the large chunks will rip through the meringue during baking leaving lots of air holes. The chunks of pistachio that don't make the cut can be saved for sprinkling on top of the filling after it is piped
  2. Preheat the oven to 150C
  3. Grind the almonds in a food processor with the icing sugar and the cornflour
    Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk and gradually add in the caster sugar. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then whisk in the powder or gel food colouring
  4. Fold in half of the almond mixture until fully incorporated then fold in the final half
  5. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe out onto trays lined with baking paper or silicone baking mats. Firmly tap the trays on the countertop to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Quickly pop these with a toothpick
  6. Allow the macarons to rest until they are dry to the touch
  7. Bake the macarons at 150C for about 20-30 minutes or until you can break one open and the interior is no longer wet

Pistachio filling recipe

  1. Spoon the marscapone into a bowl and stir to slacken it off a little
  2. Add the pistachio butter, salt, icing sugar and almond extract and stir to combine
  3. Add a pinch of salt (I like to use Maldon sea salt flakes) then taste the mixture and add more salt if desired
  4. You can add a teeny little bit of food colouring if you want to intensify the greenness of the mixture
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, I like use a star shaped nozzle for this
  6. Pipe onto the macaron shells and sprinkle on some of the pistachio chunks
  7. Top with the second macaron shell and push together gently so that the filling comes out to (but does not extend beyond) the edge of the shells
  8. Allow the macarons to mature in the fridge for 24 hours before devouring, and always remember that macarons are best enjoyed at room temperature.

Best of luck with the recipe, if you give it a go I'd love to hear how you got on!