This is obviously not one of those blogs where you readers (Hi Mom!) are going to glean a whole lot about my personal life…I would have to update far more frequently for anybody to get a sense of what my real life is like…but fortunately for all of you, I’m too lazy. But this post will make more sense if I give a little bit of background into what I’ve been doing lately.
I recently came home from a long-overdue vacation. It had been nearly 2 1/2 years since my husband and I had been on any kind of real vacation, and an opportunity came up where we were able to go to Paris! So off we went to the land of bread, cheese, wine, and pastries! Oooh…the pastries. If I had done nothing other than walk from patisserie to patisserie sampling the wares, I would have considered it a successful vacation. However, since my husband and the friends we were traveling with probably would not have had such views, we spent most of our time doing the typical tourist stuff, and fitting in pastry-sampling here and there.
I returned home inspired. Having sampled real Parisian macarons (don’t worry, I did it right. Pierre Herme and Laduree were on my list), I felt an intense need to try my hand at them once again.
For years now, I’ve been wanting to make pistachio macarons. I wanted a macaron with an intense pistachio filling and shell. Something that just screamed, “PISTACHIO!” So here was my attempt.
First up the shells: a quick Google search indicated to me that Pierre Herme favors the Italian meringue method for making his shells – a technique that I had shied away from due to the necessity of pouring a boiling sugar syrup from a pot into a whirling mixer. I saw huge sugar burns in my future. But if Pierre Herme thought that was the way to go, who was I to argue?
So off I went, grinding pistachios and almonds into a fine powder and mixing them with my powdered sugar. After whipping up my aged egg whites (Pierre recommends aging egg whites for at least 48 hours, according to the interweb.) and boiling up my sugar, I very carefully poured the sugar into the egg whites. And to my pleasant surprise, no spillage! No splashing! No third degree burns!
Mix, mix, mix, and then pipe, pipe, pipe. This is what I got:
Six pans of these! This was a monstrous recipe. Then into the oven:
For some reason, they were awfully brown. I’ve never really had issues with the shells browning before, but these went from that lovely pale green to a toast-y brown. Bummer. I blame my oven…it just means I’ll have to try again!
Moving onto the filling – I really really really wanted a strongly flavored, not too sweet or greasy, filling. I ended up making my own pistachio paste (grinding more pistachios, boiling more sugar syrup) and beating it with softened butter and powdered sugar. The look on my husband’s face when I asked him to taste it tells me it was a success.
Sorry – it’s such an appealing color, isn’t it? I ended up adding just a hint of green food coloring to help it out. Then pipe, pipe, pipe…voila!
It really bugged me that the shells browned so much – so I decided to do a little enhancement:
A few days prior to this I also made a batch of salted caramel macarons…mmm…
Sorry for the bad picture – this was literally the only one left from the batch.