Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My first ever macaroon

For some time now already, I have been longingly glancing at pictures and recipes of macaroons at various foodblogs. The equisite creations at The Traveler's Lunchbox, Kuidaore and Anne's Food have left me drooling in front of my computer screen. Whispering names like Pierre Hermé and Ladurée in the same sentece as macaroons did nothing to convince me that I could muster these delicate sweets myself. I was convinced I am doomed to wait for my maiden trip to Paris to get a taste of my first ever macaroon.

Until yesterday. I had - finally - bought a hand held electric mixer cum mini food processor. I had some leftover egg whites in my fridge. I had picked up a packet of green pistachios last weekend. And Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking had once again found its way to my bedside table.

This could mean only only thing - pistachio macaroons á la Nigella:

"These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The colour alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired." (p 53)

Tempting, isn't it?

Pistachio macaroons
(Pistaatsiamakroonid)
Source: Nigella Lawson, How To Be A Domestic Goddess




For the macaroons:
75 g green pistachios
125 g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15 g caster sugar

To make the macaroons, grind the pistachios and icing sugar in a food processor until you have a fine dust.
Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, add the caster sugar and whisk until very stiff. Fold the egg whites into the pistachio sugar and combine gently.
Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1 cm nozzle.
Bake in a 180˚C oven for 10-12 minutes. The macaroons should be set, but not dried out.
Remove from the oven and let them cool, still on their sheets.

For the buttercream:
55 g green pistachios
250 g icing sugar
125 g softened unsalted butter

To make the butter cream, grind the pistachios and icing sugar into a fine dust again.
Cream the butter, and continue creaming as you add the pistachio sugar.
Sandwich the biscuits with the soft buttercream mixture.

Makes 20 macaroons (i.e. 40 sandwiched together).

I did many many many things wrong during my first macaroon baking attempt. My pistachio dust had quite a few crumbs in it. I should have whisked the egg whites patiently for another 5 minutes (but as I was simultaneously making some Hungarian gulyas soup for a friend who was coming for dinner, I got distracted). I used greaseproof paper instead of parchment paper and hence half of my macaroons remained stubbornly stuck on the paper (so I ended up with just 10 macaroons and loads of pistachio roll-ups:) I didn't pipe the mixture onto the baking sheet, but used a teaspoon, so the macaroons were unevenly sized and shaped.

But - they were delicious. They maybe didn't look perfect, but they looked cute enough. They were very very pistachio-nutty and beautifully green in colour. Just-barely crisp outside and mouthmeltingly chewy inside. Sandwiched with the pistachio buttercream, these were very elegant biscuits indeed.

UPDATE 15.2.2007: Although I didn't have much success with these macaroons in terms of looks, then Annie of BonAppeGeek was brave enough to try out this recipe after all. And at least one of her macaroons turned out perfect. Read her post here. I think I need to give those macaroons another go, too :)

18 comments:

Clare Eats said...

Congrats!
I definately need to try my hand at macaroons.... Yours look really cute Pille and I am so glad they were yummy :)

angelika said...

Congratulations, Pille. These macaroons look great. And isn`t it the learning-by-doing factor which makes great cooks and bakers ?
I also did some Christmas baking yesterday and since it`s something I only do once a year, for obvious reasons, it`s sometimes a little stressful, especially when I do several things at the same time... Have a good time, angelika

chili&vanilia said...

Wow, brave girl!I'm so scared to try to make them..
And listen, Pille, next time you make a Hungarian gulyas soup, you better concentrate on it:))
Zsofi

Anne said...

They look great, Pille! Good job!! :)

Clivia said...

Oh, they look delicious! I wonder if I could use pistachios in my nut tops (made of ground nuts, eggs and sugar), and I wonder where to get unsalted pistachios...

Dagmar said...

Mmm, they look yummy. Now I really want to make macaroons myself. Or you could just post me some :-)

Anonymous said...

hi pille, guess what? last year for xmas i made macaroons as well. they were too crispy though, yours look deliciously-wee-bit-chewy! also, congrats on ur new electric mixer:)XXX, guro.

Melissa said...

Wow, those look really good! I've seen that recipe of Nigella's and often wondered how they would compare to other macarons. Despite not looking exactly like Pierre Herme's, with all those pistachios I'm sure they must taste fantastic - do you have any left? ;)

p.s. thank you so much for the nominations!!!

Niki said...

I've been wanting to make that recipe for ever! My friend made them last year for a cookie swap and I wolfed my 3 down in a blink of an eye. I want to try the chocolate version of the same recipe in the Chocoalte chapter of the book too.
Incidentally, the French-style biscuits made with ground nuts and egg whites I believe are actually called "macarons". Macaroons are the British biscuits made with shredded coconut and egg whites, yes? Anyone have a definitive authority information??

Andrea said...

They look sooo delicious! I found you through DeliciousDays. I will borrow your recipe and try them myself. Thanks for sharing.

paz said...

Congratulations on your achievement! They look and sound delicious. I love pistacios. I can only imagine how it tastes. ;-)

Paz

Pille said...

Clare - They weren't actually so difficult to make (well, I could improve on perfecting the look of course).

Angelika - you're absolutely right. Next time I'll make even cuter macaroons:)

Zsofi - I promise - next time I make gulyas or paprikas I'll concentrate properly (PS The gulyas was absolutely delicious!)

Anne - thanks for your kind words!

Clivia - I had trouble finding unsalted pistachios as well at first. Eventually found them in one of the Arabic shops, where they're sold under the name of 'green pistachios'.

Dagmar - I'm afraid you have to make them yourself - I have none left:)

Hi Guro!!! Mine were chewy indeed, but I guess I just had beginner's luck this time:)

Melissa - as I said, none left:) The taste was intensely pistachio-flavour, which was delicious! I can't really tell how they compare (in terms of taste) with the 'real' ones, but I recommend trying these. Yours would look perfect as well!

Niki - I didn't see the chocolate version, must look again. The index of the book isn't very good - pistachio macaroons aren't listed under 'pistachios' for example, just under 'macaroons'. Good question about single or double 'o'. Nigella uses double in the book...

Dreska - welcome to my blog! And let me know how you got on with the recipe, please.

Paz - I'm a recent convert to pistachios myself, and can't wait to try more recipes with them (They were great in the cranberry orange loaf as well).

J said...

hi pille, like melissa, you are a brave brave woman...i tried making macarons but once and they were an unmitigated disaster...your delicious results encourage me to give it another go...

Pille said...

J - thanks! But having seen all those dainty and equisite creations on your site, I'm sure your macarons will be just perfect this time, both taste- and definitely look-wise!!
Thanks for popping by!

Ms. Macaroon said...

they look so good!

SooYeon said...

Hi Pille, I loooove pistachio maacaroons and came across your pistachio macaroon recipe, so I'm trying it out.
For the measurements, when you say 75g pistachios, do you mean 75g whole or already ground? Because when I measured the pistachios as whole, it came up to 75g, but after I ground them, they measured significantly less...
I had hoped I could finish this recipe using only one bag of pistachios, but it looks like I might need to buy one more. But I hope the macaroons turn out good!

Please let me know :) Thanks~~

Soo Yeon Chung said...

Hi Pille, I loooove pistachio maacaroons and came across your pistachio macaroon recipe, so I'm trying it out.
For the measurements, when you say 75g pistachios, do you mean 75g whole or already ground? Because when I measured the pistachios as whole, it came up to 75g, but after I ground them, they measured significantly less...
I had hoped I could finish this recipe using only one bag of pistachios, but it looks like I might need to buy one more. But I hope the macaroons turn out good!
Please let me know :) Thanks~~

Pille said...

Soo Yeon - it's Nigella's recipe and she simply says 75 g pistacio nuts and then you're supposed to grind them WITH icing sugar (as is clearly stated in the recipe). It's a solid matter, so I'm a bit confused where some of your pistachios disappeared (you said there were considerably less - weight-wise? - after grinding them). Were many of them stuck to the food processor blade and bowl? Did you scrape them off and added to the mixture?

In any case, I hope you'll love your macaroons. I'm off to buy some more pistachios, as those photos need to be replaced a.s.a.p.!!!