Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pistachio Macarons

The other day I accidentally bought 4 pounds of pistachios at Costco.  Eric needs to feed me before taking me shopping.  What's a girl to do with 4 pounds of pistachios?  The obvious answer may be pistachio ice cream, but my mind went straight to pistachio macarons. 

Macarons are delicious and fun to make, however they do take a fair amount of time, preparation, planning and technique.  Your egg whites need to be at room temperature (like, left-out-overnight-room temperature), as does your butter.  The pistachios I bought were normal, salted in the shell pistachios, so Eric and I spent the better part of the "new" "Star Trek" shelling them.  I then had to rinse them off and dry them.  They still didn't dry quite right so I toasted them for about 5 minutes as the oven was preheating.  Then I had to let them cool.  That doesn't include other resting and cooling periods required for the baking process.

Pistachio Macarons


For the Shells:
1 1/4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
4 oz Pistachios
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbs Egg Whites AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt

For the Filling:
1 1/2 oz Pistachios
1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
6 Tbs Butter, softened
1/2 tsp Vanilla


The Shells:
Process the pistachios with the powdered sugar in a food processor until you get a fine pistachio flour.  Make sure you process it in phases, mixing and breaking up the bottom layer in between.

Hand mix the egg whites, salt and granulated sugar.  If you are going to add food coloring (powdered only), do it here. 

Whip until medium to stiff peaks form.

Sieve the pistachio flour and hand fold it into the egg white mixture, being careful not to over mix.

Spoon batter into a piping bag with a large, round tip (I think it's a #806).

Pipe batter into 1" circles onto baking sheets lined with silpat.  If you don't have a silpat you can use parchment paper.

Rap each baking sheet hard on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles and let rest for around 45 minutes, until the macarons develop thin skin.

Bake for 10 minutes.  They are done when you can wiggle the top of one a little, and it doesn't loose it's shape. 

Cool completely before removing from the Silpat.  Getting too antsy may result in this:

On the left, a nice smooth bottom.  On the right, excess air bubbles and removing the shells before completely cooling left me with shells not fit for macarons, but fit for tasting.

For the Filling:
process the Pistachios and confectioner's sugar like you did for the macaroon batter.  Cream the softened butter with the confectioner sugar mixture.  Add vanilla and food coloring.

Make Macarons:
Pair similar sized shells and glue them together with some pistachio filling. 

I used Nutella for some because the filling was so sweet (paired with some already sweet shells).  Also because I believe there are few things Nutella can't improve.  I recommend using a piping bag again.  If you are going use a knife make sure you are VERY gentle or you will crush the bottom part of the shell.

They actually get better over the next day or so if you can wait.

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