100% Pistachio Macarons are made without almond flour for big pistachio flavor. Pistachio buttercream is the perfect filling for these special macarons.
It’s true, French Macarons can be made without almonds. Ground pistachios make beautiful macarons. Just a dab of food coloring will make lovely green shells that advertise the special pistachio flavor.
Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make French Macarons without almonds:
Tips for making Great French Macarons:
After making literally thousands of macarons I’ve keyed in on the steps that are necessary for the most perfect cookies.
- Age the egg whites. This is the first and most important step. I’ve tried making macaron shells with freshly separated egg whites and I got cookies with ugly, lumpy shells. Remember, macarons are all about that perfectly smooth and satiny shell.
- Weigh your ingredients. Volume measures are not precise enough for this recipe.
- Sift the nut flour and sugar after processing it. This will eliminate any lumps of sugar or large bits of nut that might mar the texture of the cookies. You may have to grind and sift up to 3 times to get the nuts ground fine enough. You can stop when you have just a tablespoon of so of course nuts left over.
- Fold the batter until it’s smooth and shiny. Either under or over folding the batter will result in wonky shells. I’ve found it’s easier to under fold than over fold. See the process photos for the correct batter texture.
- Let the shells dry for 30 minutes before baking. This will set the top and help create the iconic “foot” of a perfect macaron.
- Refrigerate the assembled cookies before serving. A night in a covered container in the refrigerator will help the cookies absorb some moisture from the filling and let the flavors meld.
- You can freeze macarons for several weeks after they’re assembled, making them the perfect make-ahead dessert or gift.
If you love French Macarons (and I know you do) here are some other lovely flavors to try:
Pistachios are a great baking ingredient, here are a few more ways to use them:
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Macaron Base Mix
- 6 oz (168g) unsalted, raw pistachios
- 2 oz (56g) granulated sugar
- 8 oz (224g) confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 large egg whites (3.6 oz, 102g) aged overnight in the refrigerator (see note)
- 1.5 oz (42g) confectioner's sugar
- 12 oz (336g) Macaron Base Mix
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- a few drops of green food coloring
Macaron Buttercream Filling
- 1 stick (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Remaining Macaron Base Mix
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy (optional)
- a few drops of green food coloring (optional)
To Make The Base Mix
- Pulse the pistachios a few times until they are roughly ground. Add the granulated sugar and confectioner's sugar. Process until you have a finely ground flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Don't over process or you'll make a paste.
- Move the mixture to a sieve and sift with the cinnamon If you end up with a lot of large bits left, process them again and sift again. Continue grinding and sifting until you have less than a tablespoon of unground nuts. Whisk the ingredients after sifting to be sure they are well combined
- Divide the base, setting aside 12 oz (336g) for the macaron shells and the remaining for the buttercream filling.
To Make the Macaron Shells
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to draw twenty-four 2" circles on a 1/2 sheet of parchment paper. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and put the paper with the circles underneath the parchment on one of the pans.
- Whip the egg whites to soft peak. With the mixer running add the 1.5 oz of confectioner's sugar and the salt and whip to full peak. Add the food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until you have a color that you like. Gently fold the pistachio mixture into the whites in two batches. Continue folding until it becomes soft and shiny, but not thin and runny. When you lift the batter with the spatula and let it drizzle back into the bowl it should leave a trail on the surface that slowly fades.
- Scoop the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or cut the tip of a disposable bag). Pipe discs of batter until until they're 1/4" from the edges of the circles you've drawn. Set the pan aside to allow the cookies to dry for about 30 minutes.
- Touch the top of a cookie to make sure it's dry to the touch, it can be a bit tacky but shouldn't stick to your finger
- Bake for 7-8 minutes. For even baking turn the trays so the back side is at the front and rotate the trays between racks. Bake for another 5-6 minutes until the shells are dry and the centers are still soft.
- To check if the shells are baked I like to gently shimmy the top of the shell. If it jiggles separately from the "foot" the inside is still too soft. If it feels soft but is attached to the foot it's done. Be careful handling the shells, it's easy to crack the surface
To Make the Buttercream Filling
- Combine the softened butter with the remaining base mix, vanilla, rum and optional green color. Whip on medium-high speed until the buttercream lightens in color and becomes aerated.
- Scoop the buttercream into a clean pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or cut the tip of a disposable bag
- Pair up the cooled shells by size. Flip over half the shells and pipe a dollop of buttercream. Sandwich the cookies gently, handling the cookies by the edges and not the tops.
- The finished cookies should be refrigerated in a covered container for 1 day before serving. The cookies can also be frozen for several weeks. Bring them back to room temperature before serving.
You can not use pasteurized egg whites for macarons.
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