Well, the smoke from all the California (the entire West Coast, really) wildfires has broken our heat wave, although it does come with an orange haze, terrible air quality, and ash falling from the sky. But at least it’s not 106˚F anymore. So I decided to do a little baking, since we’re all stuck inside and it’s not too hot to turn on the oven anymore. I made my French macarons a few weeks ago before the heat started, and I wanted to branch out and explore other flavors, so I decided to try making some pistachio macarons.
I did a combination of my regular recipe and this recipe from House of Nash Eats for pistachio macarons, and they turned out great! I added a little green food coloring for more green color, but that’s definitely optional. The only real difference between my recipe and House of Nash Eats’ recipe was less granulated sugar, more powdered sugar.
Some tips: To make pistachio flour, I ground up the pistachios in a food processor, sifted the large chunks out, then re-processed them until I got 25g of pistachio flour. I used the leftover large chunks to make the pistachio buttercream. I also sifted together the pistachio flour, almond flour, and powdered sugar, then sifted it again as I was adding it to my egg white mixture, to keep everything light and avoid chunks. I also dried my macarons for about an hour, then they were still sticky, so I blew a fan over them for about 20 minutes, which helped form some feet. The feet aren’t as spectacular as some batches I’ve made before, so I probably could have let them dry a little longer under the fan, until they were really not sticky to touch. However, even though the feet on these weren’t amazing, these macarons were great! A little chewy, a little crispy, with plenty of pistachio and almond flavor from both the shells and the buttercream. Here’s the recipe I ended up with:
Pistachio Macarons with Pistachio Buttercream
Adapted from House of Nash Eats
Makes 76-80 shells, or 38-40 filled macarons
100 g egg white (3 egg whites)
45 g granulated sugar (about 3 tbsp)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
75 g almond flour
25 g pistachio flour (*see note below)
175 g powdered sugar
3-4 drops green food coloring, if desired
2 tbsp finely crushed pistachios
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
2-3 drops green food coloring, if desired
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed for about 30 sec-1 min. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar then continue to whip until stiff peaks form. This means, when you take the whisk attachment out of the bowl, the egg white should form a stiff peak that doesn’t melt out of shape. Do not over whisk, check every 5-10 sec after you reach the soft peak stage, and stop once stiff peaks have been achieved.
Sift the almond flour, pistachio flour, and powdered sugar together, then sift it again into the bowl with the whipped egg whites and granulated sugar. If you’re using food coloring, drop it in at this point. Stir gently with a spatula, running the spatula around the outside of the bowl then drawing the spatula with some batter towards the middle. Continue stirring gently in this way until the batter is slightly runny, melting off the spatula in a thick ribbon when you lift it out of the bowl. Do not undermix or overmix at this stage.
Place the batter in a plastic bag (my favorite hack is to put the bag in a large glass, opening the bag and flipping the sides of the bag over the sides of the glass then pour the batter in), and cut off about a 1/8-1/6” corner of the bag (or you can use a piping bag).
Pipe rounds about 1 1/4-1 1/2 inch diameter on baking sheets line with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. I pipe in swirls just because that works a little better for me, but you can also just pipe straight down and let the batter spread out to the sides of the tip to form a circle. Rap the baking sheet a couple times on the counter to knock out any air bubbles.
Allow the macaron shells to rest about an hour, or until when you touch them, they don’t stick to your finger. This step is important to create the “feet” during the baking. To speed up this process, you can turn on a fan and aim it at the macarons.
When the macarons are dry and ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300˚F. Bake the macarons for 16-18 min. Most recipes will tell you to bake one sheet at a time, but I use a convection oven and I’ve baked them on all 3 racks before and they turn out fine. To test if they’re done, try removing one macaron from the sheet and if it comes off cleanly, then they’re done.
Allow the shells to cool completely before removing the rest from the pan.
While the shells are cooling, make the buttercream. Cream the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth, then add the powdered sugar, pistachios, almond extract, and food coloring if desired. Add heavy whipping cream until desired piping consistency is reached.
To assemble, pipe a round of buttercream into the center of a macaron shell, then top with a second macaron shell and press down lightly to push the buttercream to the edge of the macaron shells. You can push straight down or push down and lightly twist.
Store in the fridge for a week or so (if they last that long), or you can freeze these for a couple months.
*Note: To make the pistachio flour, process pistachios in a food processor until a fine powder forms, sift the mixture through a sieve, and put the remaining larger pieces back in the food processor to process again. Repeat until you have 25g of flour. You can use the leftover larger chunks for the buttercream, and just pulse additional pistachios if needed for the buttercream in the food processor until the desired size of pistachios is achieved.