This recipe for French Pistachio Macarons is truly decadent, and the best part is that they freeze beautifully. You can make these when you have some spare time and stow them in the freezer for when guests come over.
This recipe is time consuming, but when they turn out just right, with a light and crisp shell around a soft center filled with pistachio buttercream, you’ll realize that it was well worth the hassle.
*Let the macarons sit on the baking sheet for a half-hour before putting them in the oven. If you do, a “shell” will form that helps prevent the macarons from cracking.
*This recipe calls for egg whites, but be sure you save the yolks as you
prepare it—you’ll be filling the macarons with Rafael’s Pistachio Buttercream Filling, which requires egg yolks (buttercream recipe follows macaron recipe).
Active Time: 1½ hours
Yield: About 40 (80 halves)
Prep: Take your eggs out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you plan to prepare the macarons.
Preheat the oven to 325°F
Assemble a pastry bag with a round tip (Number 804 or Number 16)
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
Stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or hand mixer
2 baking sheets
Shelf Life and Storage Instructions: You can store them in the refrigerator for 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
1 3/4 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
2 cups Almond Flour
2 large (1/4 cup) Egg Whites
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
1/4 cup Water
2 teaspoons Karo Light syrup
3 large (1/3 cup) Egg whites, warmed to room temperature
As Needed Green food coloring
1 Recipe Rafael’s Pistachio Buttercream Filling (see after macaron recipe)
1. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a mixing bowl. Sift the almond flour into the same bowl.
2. Mix in the 2 raw (not whipped) egg whites with a rubber spatula.
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, water, and Karo syrup to 248°F over medium heat.
2. As the granulated sugar, water, and Karo syrup mixture is heating, start to lightly beat together the 3 egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until light and frothy.
3. Once the sugar syrup mixture reaches 248°F, turn the mixer to high speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the beaten egg whites. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks, about 5 to 6 minutes, creating a meringue that appears shiny and stiff (similar to shaving cream).
4. Add a few drops of the green food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined and the desired color is achieved.
Putting it all together:
5. Fold Mixture B into Mixture A in three separate additions. To test whether the consistency is correct and you have sufficiently folded together the ingredients, plop a dollop of the mixture onto a hard surface with your finger. At first, a little “tip” should be visible. If the tip disappears, leaving a flat, smooth surface, you’ve got the perfect consistency.
6. Fill the piping bag halfway with the macaron mixture.
7. Pipe round circles, about 1 inch in diameter, onto parchment paper–lined baking sheets (leaving about 1½ inches of space between each). Try counting to three as you pipe each one in order to make them consistent in size.
8. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing them in the oven.
9. Bake at 325°F for 10 to 12 minutes. The top should be slightly “crisp” and the center nice and soft.
10. Once the macarons have cooled completely, remove them from the baking sheets using an offset spatula. Place them on sheets of parchment paper in 20 groups of 2 each. Using a clean piping bag fitted with a round Number 804 tip, place a small dollop of Rafael’s Pistachio Buttercream Filling on one side of each of the macarons in the first group. Next, attach a single macaron from the second group to the each of the macarons in the first group, making each into a pistachio buttercream sandwich.
11. Store the finished macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(Based on the Macarons recipe from the French Pastry School).
Something scrumptious to fill up those macarons:
Rafael’s pistachio buttercream filling
Active Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Filling for 40 French macarons
Prep: Take your butter and eggs out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you plan to prepare the filling.
Pistachio paste can be found online at Amazon, Pastry Chef Central, and King Arthur Flour. If you don’t want to wait, you can always make pistachio paste yourself. Do a Google search for “pistachio paste recipe,” and make it yourself just like that!
Stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and/or a hand mixer
Shelf Life and Storage Instructions: Store in the refrigerator for 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Rafael’s Pistachio Buttercream Filling is another amazing recipe straight from the talented mind of Chef Rafael Ornelas. You can use this same recipe to make any nut-flavored buttercream, such as hazelnut or peanut butter. Pistachio buttercream adds an element of richness to this otherwise “light” dessert. Leave it to an American to add fat to an otherwise healthier French pastry.
Breaking it down: The yolks in this buttercream recipe help make it extra creamy and rich. In order to ensure that the pistachio paste blends into the buttercream well, first add scoopfuls of the buttercream mixture (the yolks and sugar syrup) into the pistachio paste/butter mixture. Doing so will change the thick paste into a creamier mixture, which will help it blend well with the buttercream. Who wants to be stuck with lumpy pistachio buttercream?
1/4 cup Pistachio Paste
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, warmed to room temperature
3 large Egg Yolks, warmed to room temperature
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/8 cup Water
1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the pistachio paste and butter either by hand with a rubber spatula or with a hand mixer.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a separate mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), whip the yolks on high speed until they are very pale in color and have doubled in volume (about 4 to 5 minutes).
3. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the sugar and water together. The temperature of the mixture should reach 235 to 240°F (that’s the “soft ball” stage).
4. With the mixer running on high speed, gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the yolks, which should look pale, fluffy, and voluminous. Once the syrup has been added in its entirety, decrease the speed to low and beat until the mixture has thoroughly cooled (about 5 minutes).
5. For best results, before adding the butter–pistachio paste to the mixture, add a few scoopfuls of the yolk–syrup mixture and mix it in well. The objective is to make the two mixtures’ consistency more alike, which will create a smoother mixture. Then, add in the rest of butter–pistachio paste mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Use the filling as directed in the French Pistachio Macarons recipe (see above).
(Cover shot by Leigh Loftus, remaining photos by Anna Blessing)