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Pistachio Macarons…A Family Affair

It is always a blessing to have family visits. My parents come regularly, so much so that my produce guy often asks me about them and when they will visit next and they are almost on a first name basis with the mail man! I am surprised that only my brother and his family and my cousin in Savoie are the only ones who also made the trip, with all these paid vacations it should be a no brainer for the others to come visit their "favorite" cousin (cough, cough…) and discover a part of the world they do not know. So having Sophie around is absolutely fantastic on very many different levels. I get to talk about the family, speak French and laugh at the simple words I cannot find easily anymore. When I left she was 7-8 years old, so I also get the chance to discover a maturing young woman full of questions, hope, incertainties and love for life.

I also like having visitors as I can show them this country like they have never seen it before, far away from images of huge skyscrapers, bright neon signs and fast food joints. Ok, so we went to Krispy Kremes, but come on folks! that is a mandatory on the list of culinary treats I have to educate her palate about. Charleston is rich in history, landscape and native animals (she saw her first alligator on a canoe ride in the Lowcountry swamps yesterday) and of course rich in food influences from the Barbadoes, Spain, France, England and Africa. The link with macarons? Well, at the end of the day, after trying many a local delicacies, it’s all about the macarons people, and Sophie asked if I could teach her how to make them. As the good hostess that I am I felt it was necessary to fulfill her wishes..twist my arm right?!

For the second time around I went for another recipe than the one I often use for macarons, and opted not to use the Italian meringue method for the shells. Indeed, this recipe does not require that the egg whites be whipped with a hot sugar syrup, but instead mixed in with the powdered sugar/nuts method. The only reason why I chose this method was that it was over 100 degrees outside and after an afternoon roasting at the beach, we did not feel like standing in front of the stove waiting for the sugar syrup to reach proper temperature. I found this particular one for pistachio in one of my new favorites by a talented French pastry chef, Stephane Glacier, in "Un Amour de Macaron". The filling was a simple chocolate ganache with a hint of ground ginger.
We whipped, folded and mixed. We giggled, talked and dipped our fingers in the batter and the ganache. We filled, broke and sampled some…and we packaged half of them in little goodie bags and took some to the neighbors. It’s all about Southern hospitality!

Pistachio Macarons, adapted from Stephane Glacier.

Makes 35

225 gr powdered sugar

60 gr almonds

65 gr pistachios

3 egg whites (about 100gr)

green food coloring (optional) (powdered is better)

25 gr granulated sugar

In a food processor, run the nuts and powdered sugar until the nuts are finely ground. Run through a sieve if needed.

Whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar, until they are glossy. Add the green food coloring if using.

Slowly fold the nut/sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily.

Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 315 and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes.

Let cool, remove from the paper and fill with the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

1 tsp. ground ginger

Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the ground ginger. Let cool to room temperature and use as desired.

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Anne August 7, 2007 um 6:41 am

Your macarons are gorgeous! I’ve tried a few times but can’t get the hang of it. You make it sound so easy – I have to try again! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 7:23 am

Your macarons are always so picture perfect! I have just made the chocolate macaron for the first time but found that they cracked and puff-up to a peak in the middle. Even at 140C (280F) in my gas oven, they cracked. Any tips?

Meeta K. Wolff August 7, 2007 um 8:50 am

Perfect looking delicacies, Helene! I think I will save macaron baking for when we are together. This way I know I can’t go wrong!

Oh for the love of food! August 7, 2007 um 9:29 am

Helen, your macarons are simply beautiful, and you’ve styled them so elegantly. I have never made macarons before, neither have I tried them. I have not seen any selling in Perth but I’m looking forward to trying them in S’pore (next weekend) where I know it’s available.

Stella August 7, 2007 um 10:18 am

Hmmm, first time I tasted a Macaron wasa a pistachio flavoured one from Paul’s French bakery in UK!
Yours are really truly absolutely gorgeous & so delicate. You’re a macaron expert;P

breadchick August 7, 2007 um 11:46 am

Helen, just when I think you can’t possibly come up with a more lovely picture of your gorgeous foods, you do! Those macarons look so delicious that I almost licked my computer screen. I’m loving hearing about your visit with Sophie. Have a wonderful visit.

Blame It on Paris August 7, 2007 um 12:54 pm

Lovely! And I, too, share Krispy Kreme, with my French visitors. Especially when it’s flashing Hot Donuts Now.

veronica August 7, 2007 um 1:19 pm

beaux macarons a croquer de suite..j’arrive…

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 1:40 pm

Gorgeous macarons! I can’t even manage an attempt!

I also love hanging out with my god-child…she is such a clever girl and we also bake together sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ So I totally feel your joy ๐Ÿ™‚

Anita August 7, 2007 um 2:12 pm

It sounds like you are having such a good time with your family Helene! And how lucky that your god-daughter is learning the art of macarons at such a young age – she’ll be a master!

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 2:26 pm

Krispy Kremes, an alligator, and macarons – what wonderful memories you are giving Sophie!

L Vanel August 7, 2007 um 3:29 pm

I know what you mean about having family to visit. We had our 16 year old niece for a summer a couple of years ago and had such a wonderful time with her as she discovered all that France has to offer. Beautiful macarons.

Unknown August 7, 2007 um 3:50 pm

Such perfect little macaroons. May i ask how much gm of egg white = to 3 egg white. Reason is because the egg is normally use varies in size. Sometimes i use small eggs and large eggs.

Aimรฉe August 7, 2007 um 5:07 pm

Too beautiful, Helen. What I wouldn’t give for a personalized lesson in macaroon making! Sophie should feel very lucky.

Deborah August 7, 2007 um 5:15 pm

These are so beautiful. I know I need to try to make these one day, but it is quite intimidating!

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 5:39 pm

Your macarons are so beautiful and perfect. I have tried making them once but I failed so badly. Mine didn’t look anything like yours at all.

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 5:57 pm

Hmm, I adore the green color. I’ve been looking for a good recipe for the pistachio macarons after finally triumphing over the chocolate ones. I will definitely give yours a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kelly-Jane August 7, 2007 um 6:22 pm

I love pistachio macarons, I used to eat them in the basement cafe in Fauchon, and watch the people ๐Ÿ™‚

Lovely as always.

La Tartine Gourmande August 7, 2007 um 6:23 pm

Oh yes toutes ces vacances payรฉes. ils exaggรจrent!
Profites-bien de ta visite. Tes macarons ont l’air super bons. Et ils sont beaux!

SabineM August 7, 2007 um 6:47 pm

I love your site~
I have a cooking group that meets once a month and we rotate house. It is at my house in September. I will make this with my group!
Thank you!

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 6:49 pm

Hmmm…. I think I may need to drive the three or four hours to Charleston (I can’t believe I haven’t yet). Can I pretend to be Sophie’s cousin?

Hee hee. These look lovely. I’ve never tried making macaroons.

Are there two kinds? Some bakeries call those chewy coconut glob macaroons (they are delicious, but seem to be a completely different idea).

SabineM August 7, 2007 um 6:50 pm

how long would you say will it take 1-2 ppl to do this recipe? From beginning to end?

Nora B. August 7, 2007 um 9:20 pm

Lovely post, Helene. You also makde me envious when you said that you were at the beach.

You make it sounds so easy to make macarons. I’ve tried once and didn’t really succeed…maybe I should try again.

Helene August 7, 2007 um 10:04 pm

Sabinem: I’d say about 45 minute at the most.

Jenny: these are Fench macarons, just nuts no coconut. You also have the coconut ones which are more like chewy coconut cookies, generally not filled.

D: they crack because the batter is probably folded too long.

Sue" 3 egg whites is about 100 gr.

Mindy Moo August 7, 2007 um 11:31 pm

I love pistachios. And macarons have intrigued me for a while.
I am trying to work up the courage to make them ….

LizNoVeggieGirl August 8, 2007 um 1:37 am

these are such beautiful little macarons – the colors are so vibrant!!

Cynthia August 8, 2007 um 1:51 am

I’m glad you’re having so much fun. Your work is always perfection.

Belinda August 8, 2007 um 3:04 am

The macarons are so lovely! And what a great time you and Sophie are having together. I’m a southern gal, and I love your blend of French/southern hospitality. I wish I had a French girl living near me who came by with treats like this for me to sample, how wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚

Virtual Frolic August 8, 2007 um 4:10 am

You’ve totally got me!! Your macaron recipe looks easy and your final product is so beautiful, I just have to try it now! Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous August 8, 2007 um 12:27 pm

I love this macaron just by reading the ingredients! Lovely, appetizing color too! Lucky..lucky Sophie to have an aunt like you. I

Kajal@aapplemint August 8, 2007 um 3:02 pm

Seems like you’re having a lot of fun Helen.I’m sure you would’ve never gone to all those places by yourself :)And how lucky Sophie is to have you mentor her in the art of baking.And not to forget your neighbors who keep getting all the goodies from your kitchen.

Jenny August 8, 2007 um 3:10 pm

These look lovely!
When I make some, will you come visit me and help me? ๐Ÿ™‚

MyKitchenInHalfCups August 8, 2007 um 3:13 pm

Gosh, Sophie is a delight!

Maggie August 8, 2007 um 6:42 pm

Oh my goodness! They look incredible.

Mallow August 9, 2007 um 1:11 am

Those look heavenly!

kellypea August 9, 2007 um 7:35 am

Helene, I LOVE your new header. Absolutely beautiful. And if I keep seeing these macarons, I guess I’m going to have to try and make some. Goodness.

Anonymous August 9, 2007 um 8:28 am

Very cute! It’s been awhile since I tried my hand at some macarons, might have to give it a whirl this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

marias23 August 9, 2007 um 4:09 pm

Simply beautiful! And pistachio is one of my favorite things in the world!

Erin August 9, 2007 um 9:08 pm

After seeing so many macarons on your site, I’m dying to make them but I’m nervous! This seems like a doable recipe though.

Anonymous August 9, 2007 um 11:13 pm

Those look beautiful, and I love the napkins (or patterned cloth) you serve them on! Thank you for sharing, and I love family visits too!

Amy August 10, 2007 um 6:28 am

Perfection is the only word to describe your macarons. They’re really stunning! I’ve never had one before but I’d love to try yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

Parisbreakfasts August 11, 2007 um 8:46 pm

Dear Dr. Macaron,

Have you ever considered doing a macaron workshop for those of us who would like to go on the other side of the counter for once..?
A new pastry shop opened recently in New York claiming to serve macarons, but they were covered in bumps like a contagious disease had hit them. I could not bring myself to try them.
BTW yours look lovely as ever.
Someday I hope to make a macaron instead of just eating them…

Anonymous August 14, 2007 um 3:10 pm

Oooo, i second the call for a macaroon workshop, haha. I have always been scared of making macaroons, as an amateur baker, but have always lusted after them. Pistachio and chocolate would easily be my favorite!

Morven August 20, 2007 um 8:59 pm

These look wonderful. How do you get them to shape up so perfectly! I love the sound of the ginger pairing with the chocolate and the pistachios. I

Unknown August 28, 2007 um 5:20 am

oooh!! I’m going to try to make them as soon as the kitchen I work in gets less humid (seeing as fall is approaching, it should be soon!)

Babeth September 2, 2007 um 6:42 pm

God they look good! Bravissimo!!
And the pix is very stylish

Anonymous January 2, 2008 um 6:44 am

I haven’t got a chance to try macaron , but looking at all of those macaron pictures tempted me to make them.
Do you mind explaining to me about what kind of almonds that you use in the basic ingredients ? I had to order it from a specialty store but they have two kinds of almonds, one is nut flour -toasted almond; roasted and milled into fine meal, the other one called Nut Flour – Almond; milled from blanched almonds.
Thank you for your help.

Helene January 2, 2008 um 7:04 am

atinag: I would use the second one, "milled fromlanched almonds".

Anonymous January 2, 2008 um 1:08 pm

Great, thanks! I’m going to order now, will keep you posted with my experiment I’d say next week ? (sigh… have to wait for the shipping).

rebecca March 19, 2008 um 11:49 am

May I know at which setting did you zap the egg white in the microwave oven? TIA ๐Ÿ™‚

Julia April 2, 2009 um 8:42 pm

Hello Helen, I have tried to email you a couple of times but without success (receiving bouncebacks from your address in 'about'). Anyway, I am *attempting* to make some pistachio macarons this weekend for a baby shower. I noticed this recipe French meringue method.

If you were to make pistachio macarons with the Italian method, would you simply just split the almond and pistachio nut component and continue the recipe the same way? Would you suggest any other considerations?


Annie June 25, 2010 um 1:22 am

Hi Helen,
I made these and they turned out wonderfully. I am writing up the recipe for my blog and just realized that your version does not indicate that the egg white need to be aged. I did age mine overnight because that is what I had done with my first batch of macs. Now I'm wondering if it wasn't necessary for this particular variety. Any insight would be appreciated!

(PS – SO looking forward to Food and Light!)

Kunyo December 5, 2010 um 9:35 am

Thanks for the awesome recipe! The macaroons came out perfectly. I let them sit on the counter for about an hour and baked for about 13 minutes. I made the ganache with cardamom instead of ginger, which was delicious! I'll definitely make these again ๐Ÿ™‚

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