November 11, 2014

Pierre Hermé Pistachio Macarons

It only took about three years for me to finally get around to testing out Pierre Hermé's Macarons cookbook.  Call it procrastination if you like, but more than likely it was really macaron burnout on my part.  To say that I was maniacally obsessed with these French petit fours a few years ago is an understatement;  I was a fanatic and making them constantly.  It was great for my co-workers because I was bringing the macaron trials in to the office but after I found a fairly reliable recipe I stopped pretty much cold turkey.  

So what brought me out of hibernation after more than a year?  My brother's order of 200+ macarons in six different flavors.  Yikes!  I had been putting his order off for a few months and it finally got to the point where I couldn't delay any further.  

Up until that point I was using a macaron recipe that was French meringue based, i.e., no sugar syrup required.   Yes, it had its ups and downs but all the Italian meringue based recipes I previously made were far too sweet. It probably wasn't the most opportune time to try a new Italian meringue recipe, even if it was Pierre Hermé's, but I figured  if not now, then when?

My first attempt had to be Pierre's pistachio macarons, my absolute favorite flavor.   In hindsight had I known how fantastic and consistent his recipe was I would have converted ages ago!   Hermé is all about the filling which is where the real flavor of the macaron comes from and I couldn't agree more.   For the pistachio ganache I found this fantastic pure pistachio paste online that was 100% nuts, no added sugar.  Even better the company is based in the Central Valley of Northern California, miles from where I grew up!  

I highly encourage you to give this recipe a try if you want professional looking macarons from your own kitchen!

Pistachio Macarons (slightly adapted from Pierre Hermé Macarons)
Makes about 30 filled macarons

Macaron Shells

150g ground almonds
150g powdered sugar
55g egg whites, aged in fridge for about a week
1g lemon yellow food coloring
2g green food coloring
1g brown food coloring
150g granulated sugar
38g water
55g egg whites, aged in fridge for about a week

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/320 degrees F.

Grind together powdered sugar and almonds. Place in a bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add 55g of the egg whites. Mix to obtain a firm consistency. Color may be added at this stage.

Place remaining 55g of egg whites in a clean mixer bowl. Fit mixer with whip attachment.

Combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook to 118 degrees C/244 degrees F. When mixture reaches 104 degrees C/220 degrees F start whipping the egg whites to soft peak.  Pour sugar syrup over egg whites while mixer is still whipping. Whip until meringue cools to 40 degrees C/104 degrees F.

Add 20% of the meringue mixture into the almond meal mixture and beat with paddle attachment until incorporated. Fold in remaining meringue.

Pipe onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Let sit uncovered until surface of each macaron is dry to the touch, about 15-20 minutes.

Bake for 18 minutes until done. Let cool before removing and filling with ganache. Let filled macarons rest for 24 hours before eating.

Pistachio Ganache

150g heavy cream
150g white chocolate, chopped
25g pistachio paste (be sure to use 100% pure paste)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

Bring the cream to a boil with the pistachio paste.  Stir then pour it over the chocolate a third at a time.  Blend for 10 minutes with a hand blender.  Pour the ganache into a gratin dish.  Press plastic wrap over the surface of the ganache and set aside in the fridge for the ganache to thicken.

Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a plain nozzle.  Pipe a generous mound of ganache on to half of the shells then top with the remaining shells.

Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours.


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