Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mini Pistachio Macarons

There are two thoughts on making pistachio macarons.

One is to make the macaron shells with ground pistachios in addition to making a pistachio filling. And the other is to keep the shells classic almond and just add a flavorful pistachio filling. My preference is the latter. 

I feel that the flavor of the almond shells is neutral enough to not muddle the taste of a rich pistachio filling and I prefer sticking with my tried and true recipe for macaron shells because then I have some reassurance they'll turn out. Macaron ingredients are not cheap and I don't want to risk having them wasted.

The secret ingredient of these Mini Pistachio Macarons is the decadent filling, made with toasted and ground pistachios, pure pistachio extract, unsalted butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of sea salt. The result is rich, lightly sweet and very pistachio-y. It's just perfect!
Two necessary ingredients for a great pistachio filling.

Here's the recipe:

Mini Pistachio Macarons
(makes 75 quarter-sized macarons)
180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar
moss green gel coloring
lemon yellow gel coloring

Line five heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.

Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts.  Towards the end of mixing, add the gel colorings to achieve a deep pistachio green. The color of macarons lighten after baking so be sure to color the meringue more intensely than you want the macarons to turn out.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 

Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small nickel sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.
Piped macarons resting before baking.
Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.

While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable. 

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for 8 to 11 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.

Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.

Sort into pairs and fill with Pistachio Filling
Sorted macarons ready for some filling.

Pistachio Filling
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure pistachio extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup pistachio meats
moss gel coloring (optional)

Lay the pistachio meats on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast them in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted and golden brown.
Pistachio meats ready to be toasted.

Grind the pistachios in a food processor until they are a fine powder. Add the powdered sugar and pulse to combine.
The toasted pistachio meats in the food processor.

Grind the meats to a fine powder.

Add powdered sugar.

The pistachio mixture is ready to be whipped into the butter and enhanced with pistachio extract and sea salt.

Place the pistachio mixture in a mixing bowl with the butter, sea salt and pistachio extract. Whip on high speed until light and creamy. Tint with coloring if desired.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag for the filling of the macarons.
The finished filling. I tinted it with a bit of moss green gel coloring.

Filled Mini Pistachio Macarons. Keep the macarons chilled until you are ready to serve them.

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