Crisp and chewy French macaron shells filled with a sweet and nutty pistachio cream, the only pistachio macarons you'll need
What are pistachio macarons?
Pistachio macarons are French cookies filled with a pistachio-flavored filling. I'd say pistachio is one of the most popular macaron flavors, and for good reason!
Macaron shells are made primarily of egg whites, almond meal, and sugar. With sugar being one of the main ingredients they can get very sweet. Pistachios have an earthy, nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of the shell to create a well-rounded flavour profile that is loved by all!
I mean think about all the delicious pistachio flavored desserts. Whether that be a delicious slice of baklava or a swirl of gelato, they are all equally delicious. If you're a pistachio fan you will absolutely love these macarons.
The best pistachio macaron filling
When it comes to filling macarons I'm very picky. As the shell itself doesn't have much flavor, the filling needs to pack a punch. On top of that, the shell tends to be very sweet on its own, and we need something that can bring balance to the cookie.
A lot of pistachio macaron recipes use a white chocolate ganache, however, I find that this adds too much sweetness to the cookie. Instead, I opt for a cream cheese pistachio buttercream filling.
The slight tang of the cream cheese neutralizes the sweetness of the shells, but it doesn't overpower the pistachio flavor. This results in a delicious well-rounded macaron!
Tips for the perfect buttercream
Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature
Room temperature ingredients are essential for whipping up a smooth buttercream. Chilled butter and cream cheese have the tendency to clump up and can cause your buttercream to be chunky.
I'd recommend taking your ingredients out of the fridge when you start making your shells, that way there is enough time for them to soften.
Process your pistachios until a paste
The secret behind the flavor punch of pistachio is making a pistachio paste. By blitzing the nuts you are able to concentrate the pistachio flavor down into a delicious paste.
You will need a food processor or blender to make this, but there are some specialty stores where you can find premade pistachio paste or pistachio butter which you can use instead.
If you find that the pistachios and sugar aren't forming a paste you can help it by adding a splash of vegetable oil. Then continue blending until a thick paste forms.
Don't add too much sugar
If you give your buttercream a taste, you'll realize that it isn't very sweet. This is intentional! The buttercream will balance out the sweet shell for the perfect level of sweetness once assembled.
Don't be tempted to add more sugar, as it may make your cookies overwhelmingly sweet.
Beat until light and smooth
Make sure you give your butter and cream cheese enough time to whip up. I recommend using an electric mixer as you are able to incorporate air much quicker.
If you don't beat it enough the buttercream will feel thick and greasy.
The ingredients needed to make this are relatively simple, and with the exception of pistachios, you should have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
Almond meal, also known as almond flour, is essentially ground almonds. This gives the macarons structure as well as their signature nutty flavor and chew.
A couple of recipes will use pistachio flour to make the shells. However, this can introduce extra oils and make your macaron shells more prone to failure. I recommend sticking with almond meal and adding pistachio flavor through the filling.
Also known as powdered sugar or confectioners sugar, this is essentially sugar that has been ground into a fine powder.
While icing sugar and powdered sugar are pretty much the same thing, there is a slight difference. Icing sugar has a touch of starch mixed into it, whereas powdered sugar is 100% sugar.
The added starch in icing sugar helps to thicken the sugar when mixed with water if using it as an icing on cakes or cookies. I prefer using icing sugar as the starch also helps the macarons dry and form that skin that is needed before baking. However, either work!
Another essential ingredient that should be sourced with care! Make sure your egg whites are free from any egg yolk as this can cause your meringue to fail. Any extra fat in your egg whites will prevent your meringue from whipping to stiff peaks
A lot of recipes will encourage you to use aged egg whites, but this isn't necessary. I've had equally amazing results with fresh egg whites, so there is no need to put in the extra effort of aging your egg whites.
Also known as granulated sugar, this sugar is used in the meringue to bring the egg whites to shiny peaks. Some recipes will use caster or superfine sugar, however both work as long as you whip your egg whites for long enough.
Once fully whipped, if you rub the meringue between your fingers there shouldn't be any granules of sugar left.
Green Gel Food coloring
To emulate the pistachio color we use a touch of green food coloring. Don't use too much as this can make your macarons look bright green and artificial.
I recommend using either gel or powdered food coloring. Water-based colors will introduce extra moisture to your batter and can cause issues like cracking or spreading.
Butter is needed for the buttercream! Make sure it is at room temperature before starting to create a smooth buttercream.
Cream cheese adds a little tang to the buttercream, as well as a silky smooth texture. This is the secret to a delicious, smooth buttercream.
Both raw and roasted pistachios will work in this case! I like to use roasted as it gives a deeper nutty flavor, but whatever is easier for you.
I recommend buying the packs of peeled pistachios as it can take forever to peel them...
The sugar adds sweetness to the filling while acting as an abrasive that helps the pistachios be blitzed into a paste.
There are a couple of pieces of essential equipment needed to perfect these! I've listed them down below with alternatives if you don't have access to them.
A stand mixer or handheld electric beaters are essential. I wouldn't recommend making macarons by hand as there is a lot of whisking required, whether that be making the shells or buttercream.
I like to use the whisk attachment for whisking the meringue and the paddle attachment when making the buttercream.
A spatula is a great tool for folding the batter as it can get every last bit of batter stuck to the walls of your bowl. The shape of the utensil helps you get underneath the batter and fold it over the top to achieve the perfect macaron batter consistency.
Piping bags are needed to pipe the filling and buttercream. I like to pair it with a round nozzled piping tip to create perfect rounds of batter and buttercream.
If you don't have one you can use a ziplock bag with the tip cut off, but keep in mind that the shells will most likely turn out a little lopsided.
Baking sheets, cookie sheets, or oven trays are all the same things and are needed to bake the shells.
Make sure your baking sheet is completely flat. As macaron batter is quite runny a wonky baking sheet can cause the batter to dis-form once piped.
Parchment paper or Silicone Mat
I personally like to use parchment paper, aka baking paper, when making macarons as the results are more consistent and take less time to bake.
Some silicone mats are great as they have pre-drawn circles for piping batter, ensuring perfectly shaped macarons every time. However, silicone mats are a lot thicker than baking paper and will need a couple more minutes of baking.
While not essential an oven thermometer is a lifesaver when baking things that require precision. The oven temperature of every oven varies, and some will run hotter or cooler than others.
Changes in temperature can be the cause of macaron failure, so having an oven thermometer allows you to have complete control over your oven.
A food processor can be used in both the shells and filling!
I like to blitz my almond meal and icing sugar together when making the shells. This ensures that the flour is super-fine, meaning perfectly smooth shells. It also removes the need to sift the almond meal and icing sugar through a fine-mesh sieve several times.
The food processor is also needed for the buttercream as we need to blitz the pistachios into a paste.
More Macaron recipes
I've got so many macaron recipes up on my blog. If you are looking for another delicious recipe check out any of the ones below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do these last?
These will last up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can I change the flavor to a different nut?
Yes! you can use this recipe as a base for any other nut flavored macaron you'd like to create, whether that be peanut, hazelnut, almonds, walnut, etc. The options are endless. Simply replace the nuts in the buttercream.
Why do macarons need to mature?
Maturing macarons helps them develop flavor and texture. The shell absorbs the flavours and moisture of the filling overnight for a more flavourful cookie with the characteristic slightly chewy texture.
If you eat the macarons straight away the filling will ooze out of the sides and the shell will be dry and slightly crunchy.
Why do macarons need to dry?
The drying process is one of the most important steps to achieving macaron feet. Without drying your shells they will crack or bake up flat.
You know your macarons are dry when you can touch the surface of the batter without it sticking to your finger.
Let's Get Baking
Pistachio or macaron fan, these are the cookies for you!
If you make these make sure leave a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how it went. Also tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your creations.Print
Pistachio Macaron Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Cookie
- Method: Intermediate
- Cuisine: French
- 75 g Almond meal
- 68 g Icing sugar
- 56 g Egg whites
- 56 g White sugar
- Green powdered or gel food colouring
- 100g Unsalted butter, softened
- 50g Cream cheese, softened
- 50g Pistachios, finely ground
- 50g White sugar
- In a medium sized bowl sieve the almond meal and powdered sugar together
- If there are large chunks of almond meal remaining in the sieve dispose of them
- In a large clean bowl add the egg whites, and using an electric mixer beat until foamy
- Slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks
- Fold the sieved almond meal and powdered sugar into the meringue in 2 additions, scraping around the bowl and down the centre
- Continue until you notice that the lines that form when the batter falls back into the bowl slowly start to disappear
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe out 1.5inch circles
- Allow to dry for 1-2 hours, or until the surface is matte and dry
- Bake in a preheated oven at 140°C for 13-15 minutes (I find that it's usually done at 13, but it depends on your oven so make sure to check! If you give your macarons a wiggle they shouldn't be moving, that's when they're ready)
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Combine pistachios and sugar in a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste (this will take some time)
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer or stand mixer, until light and fluffy
- Add the pistachio paste and whisk until smooth
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip
- Match similar sized macaron shells with each other
- On the flat side of one shell pipe a large dollop of buttercream
- Top with a matching shell
- Place in airtight container in the fridge for a day to mature (gives deeper flavour and chewy texture!)
Keywords: Pistachio, macaron, french, cookie, almond meal, buttercream