One more idea for March 17th. We’re getting the Irish and French together on this. I was inspired by St. Patrick’s Day to bake “macarons” using pistachio “flour”, thinking they’d make a pretty pale green dessert and would be a prefect gift! The nuts ground to a surprisingly fine flour, so this experiment will certainly lead in other directions. I made the chocolate ganache differently, wanting something darker than the one we used for the Almond Macarons recipe posted a couple of weeks ago. The advantage is that it doesn’t call for confectioners’ sugar; no need to run next door if you used it all up making the macaroons!
Pistache Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Filling (Makes 24 finished cookies)
Oven: 275F, but not yet; the cookies have to rest at room temp for an hour, so go “around the block.”
Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly greased.
3 eggs whites, room temperature (I’ll reserve the yolks for a creme anglaise, you’ll see!)
1 cup (3 oz.) Pistachio “flour” – you’ll have to grind your own using a coffee mill. Roasted unsalted pistachos work best; avoid processing them so long you get nut butter. It’s OK if the nuts have a little skin; the macarons will have a more rustic appearance. You may find a tablespoon or two left in the sieve after you sifted the pistachio/confectioners’ sugar mix into the egg whites.
1/4 cup (2 oz.) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup (5 oz.) confectioners sugar
Two drops red green coloring (powdered is often recommended; use a very little. I wanted enough to counter the surprisingly yellow color of the pistachio “flour”.)
1. Have the eggs whites at room temp, even if this means leaving them out overnight. Old egg whites (up to 7 days stored well covered in the refrigerator) are fine, since they’ve had an opportunity to lose a little of their moisture.) Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper and greasing it very lightly.
2. Measure the sugars and ground pistachios/pistachio flour and have them at the ready.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. While still “on”, slowly add the granulated sugar and increase the speed to high, beating until soft peaks have formed. You’ll want the (meringue) firm, but not dry.
3. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugar over the whipped whites, and gently fold to incorporate. The meringue will fall a little which is fine. You’ll want the batter soft enough to form a disk without ridges when it’s piped onto the cookie sheet.
4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, or better a small plastic bag with a corner snipped out, with a bit of batter to test the consistency. Pipe a small 1 to 1/1/2 inch disk onto the parchment paper. If there are ridges, stir down the dough with 2-3 or more strokes of the spatula.
5. Pipe (30) disks onto the baking sheet leaving a little distance between each, and let sit at room temperature for an hour (I was out for 90 minutes at this point, so a little longer is fine.) A shiny “skin” will form on top of the macaron that will allow it to rise to form it’s discreetly characteristic edges. Note: the edges will be more “discreet” if you can pipe the dough on the cookie sheet in a circle, avoiding having to tweak the shape with a knife or your finger.
6. Preheat the oven to 275. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will rise, but you don’t want them to brown. Turn the oven off – open the door to cool just a bit and then shut it to let the cookies rest, as you would with meringues. This isn’t essential, but it helps them firm up.
7. Let cool completely before filling/icing. Store in an air tight container in a cool place. Some like them to “cure” overnight in the refrigerator, so you can make these a day ahead.
Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Filling
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons GF flour mix
5 oz. half & half
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (72%) – can use unsweetened if you prefer.
1/2 cup (4 oz. = 1 stick) unsalted butter
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (omit or substitute vanilla if you don’t like almond)
1. Combine the sugar, flour, and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
2. Measure the half & half into a small sauce pan. Add the sugar and flour mixture, whisking to blend. Cook over a medium low heat until the sauce thickens.
3. Remove from heat and add the chocolate; cover for 2-5 minutes until the chocolate melts, and whisk to blend. Add the almond extract and salt; stir to blend and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer; let cool completely. Alternately you can beat the mixture on medium high speed until it cools.
4. When the mixture is room temperature beat at medium speed, adding the butter in pieces until it is fully incorporated. Continue beating until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Optional: Fill the pistache macarons with almond or vanilla buttercream.