Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pistachio Macarons & Mother's Day

Pistachio Macarons 

Pistachio Macarons by Robert Giglio. 

·       1 cup confectioners sugar
·       1/4 cup almond flour – ground almonds
·       ¾ manually shelled pistachios
·       2 large egg whites, room temperature
·       1/8 tsp cream of tartar
·       1/4 cup sugar – ground for 20 seconds in a food processor

Fill a measuring cup ¼ of the way up with almond pieces.  Now fill the remaining ¾ cup with pistachios — there should be a total 1 cup of nuts. Grind this mixture into a flour-like powder in your food processor. Mix in confectioners sugar using the food processor, until pistachio flour and confectioners sugar are combined.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar on low. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, 6-8 minutes. Fold flour mixture over whites, until mixture is “smooth and shiny.”

Transfer batter to a pastry bag pipe 3/4-inch dots 1 inch apart on parchment*-lined baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes – on a cool space. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.

**I say parchment paper because I had some trial and error my first time making macarons. I used aluminum foil. Don’t do that. I also used the pan with grease. Definitely, don’t do that. BE SURE TO LINE WITH PARCHMENT PAPER. And make small dots of batter.  The dough spreads which makes the patties too flat. Small dots are your friend.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. If sticking to paper, transfer sheet to cool surface. Allow them to sit and firm up for 15 minutes on the cool surface.
Find like size macarons and sandwich them with filling.

For the filling … 

-       Remaining pistachios in bag, about 3T
-       1 stick butter, room temperature
-       4 oz almond bark or white chocolate
-       1T arak or almond extract
-       1.5 cups confectioners sugar

Grind the pistachios in processor. Pour in bowl with butter, arak and confectioners sugar. Melt bark or chocolate and immediately beat with other ingredients. 

Because this is my first crack at macarons, I used Martha's recipe as a guide for baking instructions. 

Mother's Day 

This Mother's Day was different for many reasons. It was, most importantly, our first Mother's Day without Oma. And the first Mother's Day where my mom travelled to us — as I recently moved to DC.  

We celebrated by catching a couple of shows in town, including Showboat at the Kennedy Center. We all had a lot of fun. But after my mom left, I think we all missed Oma.

I had to think about last year's Mother's Day when I cooked a brunch at my mother's house for Oma, my mom, my Dad's mom (Gammie) and me.  We had a nice time, though neither Oma or Gammie were quite their old selves.  I started my oral history project that day, interviewing Gammie and kicking off the next year of my life. 

I started thinking about this last year and all of its change and fondly remembering the past.  I decided to keep thinking of Oma when I can, which is a huge part of this blog and why I decided to make pistachio macarons.  Oma simply was crazy about pistachios — I also threw in a little arak for good measure. 

Oma home from the hospital with her first baby, my aunt. 

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