One of my friends... well, one of my good friends, brought me from France a bottle of pate de pistache. "For your macarons" she said. She used to be one of my victims to eat those failed and not-that-good macarons I made on my first attempts several years ago. We used to work for the same organisation, and after she ended her mission in Indonesia she came to visit several times and each time she gave me something for my cooking. This time, it's a bottle of pure organic pistachio paste.
Pistachio macarons. I have been dreaming of make one ever since I can make macarons without having problems. I like pistachio nuts, but they're so expensive in this country. Around 50-60 dollars a kilo. I dreamed to make pistachio macarons that so pistachio-y having pistachios in both the shells and the filling. With that expensive price, it means I have to drop this idea. So, when Jo told me that she had pistachio paste for me, I was so happy. Thank you so much Jo, you made one of my dreams came true. All I need to do is buying a small amount of those expensive pistachios for the shells. Since it's only a small amount, it's not that expensive.
If you follow all my macarons journey from the first post, you will notice that I am trying to reduce the sweetness of the macarons shell, by little by little add the ratios of almond/nut to the powdered sugar or reduce the caster sugar. This time, with 130 grams of nuts and 185 grams of powdered sugar, it's definitely less sweet. For my next batch of macarons, I will experiment more on reducing the sweetness to see how far I can go with it. Off course I also have to balance the flavor and the sweetness. Psychologically, some certain flavors already have their own "sweetness" (even though there's no sweetness in it) that would enhance the "sweet" experience in your taste buds. It's related to how our brain works... it relates a certain flavor with a certain taste. Besides, fruits already have sugar in it, so the amount of sugar in a recipe should be reduced. .. etc., etc. For many, the macarons are still way too sweet, especially the Asian people.
I made the pistachio filling using swiss meringue butter cream as the base. I managed to have a perfect sweetness. It's not so difficult to reduce the filling's sweetness (unlike the shells) since it's not that temperamental. So we can play reducing or adding sugar or flavor much more freely. The egg white in swiss meringue butter cream would make it lighter compared to the pure butter cream one, and that's why I like it a lot. Less sweet and lighter.
For the shells:
65 g ground almond
65 g pistachio nuts, remove the skin
185 g powdered sugar
50 g caster sugar
100 g egg whites
2 drops moss green coloring (optional)
Using a food processor, blend pistachios and and some of the powdered sugar until fine.
Mix in the almond and the rest of powdered sugar, and continue processing until thoroughly mixed.
Sieve all together and put aside.
In a stand mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites to foam, and add the caster sugar in three additions. Continue whisking to stiff-peak consistency. Add food coloring at this point if you prefer to, and whisk to blend.
Incorporate the almond-pistachio-powdered sugar mix. A third or a fourth at a time, until it forms a magma-like consistency and take care to avoid over-mix the batter.
Put in a piping bag with round tip (I use Wilton #2A) and pipe small rounds about 2.5 cm in a baking tray that has been lined with silpat or parchment paper.
Tap the tray on a hard surface several times so the bubbles would come to the surface. Immediately prick them using a toothpick.
At this point, reheat your oven to 160 ºC / 320 ºF
Let the surface dry for 15-30 minutes (depends on the air's humidity), or until it doesn't stick to your finger when you gently touch it.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool first before removing them from the silpat or parchment paper.
For the filling:
Pistachio Butter Cream
50 gram egg whites
100 gram caster sugar
180 gram unsalted butter
70 gram pistachio paste
In a double boiler, whisk continuously the egg whites and sugar until the sugar mostly dissolved and it's hot to the touch (if you have a candy thermometer, it's about 60 ºC / 140 ºF).
Remove from the boiler, and continue whisking immediately in a stand mixer until the mixture is cool.
Continue whisking and add butter gradually spoon by spoon, until it's well-blended.
Mix the pistachio paste in, incorporate well, and put in the fridge to thicken it a little bit (about 30 minutes).
To assemble the macarons:
Pair the same size macarons shells.
Pipe the filling on one shell and sandwich with the other. Do the same to the rest of your macarons shells.
Keep them in the fridge, in an air-tight container. They are best to be eaten after 24 hours.