What a wonderful time I had making these delicious pistachio shamrock macarons filled with pistachio filling. Since we’re in the merry month of March, I thought I would pipe most of the macarons in shamrock shapes.
Instead of tinting the batter green with food color I wanted the macarons to bake to its natural color…
…and serve the pistachio macarons instead on green plates.
St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away, so here’s my culinary ode to the occasion. Speaking of things Irish, what’s next now that Branson has set his sights on New York, or was it Boston? We’ll have to wait for season 6 of Downton Abbey.
The steps are pretty much the same as chocolate macarons, the only difference being the pistachios added to the recipe instead of cocoa.
I prepped the pistachios ahead of time by processing a whole bunch in the food processor as finely as I could get them, and then sifting them to get a fine powder. I had already sifted a large amount of almond flour previously so I had that ready to go as well. I used equal weights of pistachio meal and almond flour.
If you plan to measure ingredients by volume, sift the dry ingredients first before measuring them out. Whisk the pistachio meal, almond flour and powdered sugar to combine, then sift them all together. It’s interesting to note the pistachio green color seems to neutralize once mixed in with the almond flour and the powdered sugar. Add the first half of the egg whites to make a paste and the color of the mixture reverts to pistachio green.
Make the meringue by boiling hot sugar syrup and pouring it in a thin, slow stream into the egg whites with the mixer speed on medium high. Once the meringue is whipped to medium peaks, add it a third at a time into the pistachio almond paste, carefully cutting and folding to combine. This point might just be the most important step in making macarons since you have to get a feel of the batter and know when to stop. I just find a happy medium between thick and runny and the batter has acquired a shine. Also, the batter will slowly flow back in 2 – 3 seconds when you run your spatula down the center. When all the meringue is folded in, the pistachio green color will be diluted.
You can make a basic outline of shamrocks in the computer or download and print out this template I used. Slip this template underneath the parchment paper so you have a guide, then carefully slide it out and transfer it onto the next sheet. Just remember to remove the template and not bake it. Printer ink baking in the oven would not be a good thing. The little circles were about the size of a nickel, roughly ¾” so the total size of one shamrock was slightly over 1.5 inches. Piping the stem is a bit tricky because the batter eventually spreads. Let the piped batter sit at room temperature for about 20 – 30 minutes so the surface forms a skin and has become somewhat dry. If you lightly touch it and it doesn’t wet your finger then it’s ready for the oven.
Bake time for these pistachio shamrock macarons was shorter at 10 minutes compared to the earlier chocolate macarons which took 15 – 17 minutes. I made a quick pistachio filling but you can use just about anything to fill them.
Biting into an extremely yummy pistachio macaron will reveal a green chewy interior picked up from the color of the pistachios, with the flavor all the more heightened by pistachio filling. The filling and the chewy part have mingled since they both contain pistachios. The outer shell has just the right amount of crispness. It’s amazing how one small confection can bring a delightful play of textures and flavors.
I made 110 macaron shells for a total of 55 assembled macarons. You could probably get more out of it if you pipe the shapes smaller.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
- 133 g finely ground pistachio meal (1¼ cups + 1 tablespoon +2 teaspoons)
- 133 g finely ground blanched almond meal/flour almond flour (1½ cups + 2½ teaspoons)
- 266 g powdered sugar (2 cups + ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
- 100 g egg whites (3 egg whites)
- 208 g granulated sugar (1 cup)
- 60 g water (¼ cup)
- 100 g egg whites (3 egg whites)
- ½ cup / 1 stick unsalted butter (113 g)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (126 g)
- 1½ cups finely ground pistachio meal (143 g)
- 1½ cup almond flour (118 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 – 8 teaspoons milk (as needed to adjust consistency)
- Pinch of salt
- Whisk the pistachio meal, almond flour, powdered sugar to combine, and then sift all together.
- Add the first half of egg whites and mix to form a paste. Set aside.
- Place the second half of egg whites in a grease-free bowl of a stand mixer with a wire whip attachment.
- Place granulated sugar in a small sauce pan. Add the water and gently swirl the pot just enough to dampen the sugar evenly. Turn heat on to medium.
- Start whipping the egg whites on low. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 220°F, increase the speed until the meringue is thick and starts to take shape, then reduce the speed to low and wait for the temperature of the sugar syrup to reach 235°F.
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 235°F, pour it in a thin, slow and steady stream into the egg whites aiming for the egg whites directly between the side of the bowl and the wire whip, with the mixer speed on medium high. Beat meringue until it has turned glossy and reached medium peaks stage. Do not over whip.
- Using a silicon spatula, take about a third of the meringue and fold it into the pistachio, almond and powdered sugar paste. Fold by cutting down the center and folding the mixture over, at the same time scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Repeat with the rest of the meringue and fold until the texture of the batter is shiny and everything well blended. The batter is ready when you draw a line with your spatula right down the center of the mixed meringue and it slowly comes back together in about 3 seconds. It should neither be very thick nor very loose. Do not over mix.
- Pre heat the oven to 300 F.
- Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with a medium round tip, with about ⅓ of the batter.
- Place your template underneath the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. Hold the piping bag, perpendicular, straight towards the center of the circle. Pipe the meringue just until you reach the inner part of the circle. If making shamrocks, pipe 3 circles first then follow the outline of your template to make a stem. If you leave a tip in the center of the piped meringue, this will slowly dissipate and smoothen out by itself in a few minutes. Pull out your template from underneath the parchment paper and transfer it onto the next cookie sheet.
- Gently tap the cookie sheet holding the piped meringue on your work surface to release any air pockets.
- Let sit at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes, or however long it takes for the piped meringue to form a skin.
- Repeat piping the rest of the meringue each time using the template underneath the parchment paper. Remember to pull the template out of the last cookie sheet. The piped batter is ready for the oven when you lightly touch it and it doesn’t wet your finger.
- Bake each cookie sheet for 10 - 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 300°F. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking.
- Remove from the oven and let the macarons cool completely on the cookie sheet.
- Microwave the butter until melted. Add the powdered sugar and beat by hand with a silicon spatula until smooth. Add the pistachio meal and almond flour beating until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Add milk one teaspoon at a time only as needed until piping consistency is reached.
- Transfer filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag and snip off a corner.
- Pipe filling onto a macaron shell leaving a small space around the edge. For shamrock macarons, follow the shamrock shape first and pipe along the edge, then fill in the center.
- Top with another macaron shell and press gently until filling reaches the edge.
- Keep macarons chilled in an airtight container and bring up to room temperature before serving.