Pistachio Macarons – Nutty, fancy little French macarons made with freshly chopped pistachios and filled with an homemade pistachio buttercream
Welcome to March everyone!
When thinking of the first recipe that I wanted to feature this month, my mind kept thinking “green.” Without fail, once March comes around, I start thinking about green recipes. I must subconsciously associate march with St. Patrick’s Day. Do you do that too?
I didn’t really want to do anything minty because, frankly, I haven’t been inspired to do anything minty since this killer mint cookie ice cream. How could I possibly top that?! So I went to my next favorite green treat – pistachios!
I’ve been asked to make pistachio macarons ever since I posted about these nutella macarons. But I just kept putting it off because I was intimidated about making pistachio flour for the macaron shells and had no idea what kind of filling I would fill them with.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and tested out some recipes and found the PERFECT recipe for pistachio macarons. I swear…I think this is my best macaron yet!
How to make macarons
Macarons can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not an avid baker. But if you do your research and properly prepare yourself, you have nothing to worry about!
Lucky for you, I’ve done the research for you. Years ago, I failed my first macaron attempt so I decided to take a course on macarons so I could learn the technique first-hand. I detailed my experience and everything I learned in this post for nutella macarons. I highly recommend reading that post to get everything you need to know about making macarons.
What makes pistachio macarons unique
In most situations, you can use a basic macaron recipe and make little adjustments to the color and the flavor of filling to make an entirely different flavor of macaron. For example, for my raspberry macaron hearts, I used my basic recipe, added pink food coloring, made them in the shape of hearts, and used raspberry jam as the filling instead of buttercream.
However, pistachio macarons are slightly different because pistachio flour is used in the macaron shell, along with the traditional almond flour. To make the pistachio flour, you simply grind the pistachios in a food processor with the almond flour and powdered sugar. That’s it!
As for the filling, I was under the impression that pistachio paste was necessary. I’d seen pistachio paste in fancy gourmet food shops and specialty stores and even some recipes for pistachio macarons and pistachio gelato had pistachio paste listed as a ingredient.
But in my research I realized that pistachio paste is not necessary. I found this incredible pistachio buttercream recipe that just uses crushed pistachios, powdered sugar, butter, cream, and a hint of almond extract for a little punch. And the resulting buttercream is INCREDIBLE. I think it’s my favorite part of these macarons. It’s not too rich but man, is it flavorful!
Tips and tricks
In addition to the tips I mention is my Nutella Macarons post, I have a few more that I learned while making macarons since then and especially for these pistachio macarons:
- It is super important to age your egg whites before you make the meringue. This means that you let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. This will help the meringue get to the consistency you need. I’ve skipped this step once and the result was super wet macarons that cracked on top. I’ve never skip it again!
- I used very very little food coloring in the macaron shells. I took the end of spoon handle and scraped out very little yellow gel food coloring and half as much green gel food coloring and it gave me this beautiful pistachio color. On my first attempt, I used 1/4 teaspoon and it was wayyyy too much color. The shells looked electric green!
- I’ve made the mistake of buying pistachios still in their shell because I thought “Hey, I can shell these myself. Why would I pay extra for shelled pistachios?” Oh did I learn my lesson! The tips of my fingers were raw after shelling almost 2 cups of pistachios. I will never do that again. So please, do yourself a favor and buy pistachios that are already shelled.
- I highly recommend weighing all your ingredients. Macarons are a finicky cookies so if you don’t have the correct measurements, it could really affect the cookies.
For the pistachio macarons:
- 3.5 ounces powdered sugar
- 0.4 ounces pistachios shelled
- 2 ounces almond flour
- 2 ounces egg whites (about 2 large egg whites), room temperature
- 1 3/4 ounces granulated sugar
- 1 pinch cream of tartar (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1 pinch yellow gel food coloring
- 1/2 pinch green gel food coloring
- pistachio buttercream (recipe below)
For the pistachio buttercream:
- 1.6 ounces pistachios
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the macarons:
- Prepare one baking sheet by placing two macaron templates on the sheet. You can print the templates here. Place parchment paper or silicone mats over the templates. Set baking sheet aside.
- Place oven rack in the lower half of the oven, but not all the way to the bottom. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add powdered sugar, pistachios, and almond flour to the bowl of a food processor. Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds so that the mixture is super fine. Sieve the flour and sugar mixture three times and discard leftover bits of pistachios. Set mixture aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar and begin to beat on medium-high until it begins to foam. Once it starts to get foamy, begin to slowly sprinkle the granulated sugar into the egg whites until it's all been incorporated. Increase the speed to high to whip the meringue into stiff peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream, NOT soft serve. Add food coloring and mix to combine. If you want a deeper color, add a little bit more coloring. But a little goes a long way.
- Once the meringue is done, add one-third of the sifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with a spatula. Do this step very carefully and slowly, cutting the mixture down the middle and swooping around. Once it's incorporated, add a second-third and gently fold in. Then, add the final third. Mix just until it's incorporated. Do not over mix. The consistency should be like slow-moving lava. To check for consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple seconds. If it falls into clumps and doesn't fall slowly, it is not mixed enough. Keep mixing slowly so that the batter deflates a bit and the proper consistency is reached.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a smooth, round 1/2 inch tip. Holding the bag in two hands directly over the parchment, pipe a small amount of batter into the first circle stencil. Stop pipping right as the batter reaches the edge of the circle. The batter will spread so don't add too much. Move on to the other circles until all the batter is gone. When you get to the end of the batter, a lot of it will stick to the bag. To push it down, use the edge of a bench scrapper.
- After you've pipped all the circles, smack the baking sheets on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop all the air bubbles. If you don't do this step, the air bubbles will release steam while baking and crack the shells.
- Let them sit to dry out until the tops are smooth to the touch, about 30 minutes. They are done when you rub your finger over the top and your finger doesn't stick.
- Bake macarons in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes. Make sure to rotate the sheet halfway through, for even baking. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring parchment sheet to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- While the macarons shells cool, make the pistachio buttercream. (see recipe below)
- Lay half of the macarons flat side up on a baking sheet. Cut a little corner off the bag with the buttercream and pipe a small circle of buttercream in the center of one shell. Top with the other shell and gently press just enough to push the filling out to the edges. Do this for all the macaron shells until done.
- Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days. Or you can freeze for up to five months.
For the pistachio buttercream:
- Add powdered sugar and pistachios to food processor. Process for 30 seconds so that the mixture is fine.
- In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar mixture, heavy cream, and almond extract and beat until well combined. Turn mixture to medium high and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Scrape buttercream into a plastic storage bag without a piping tip. Cut off a small corner off the bag and begin macaron assembly above.
Pin for later:
More recipes you’ll love: