Thursday, 29 December 2011

Pistachio Perfection

Stolen from her book, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella describes these as "the world's most elegant macaroons" and within my narrow realm of macaroon experience, I would tend to agree.  They are delicately waxy in appearance and pale jade in colour; the perfect combination of nutty and sweet, crunchy and chewy.  Suiting all purposes, they are made for sharing, or enjoying with a quiet cup of coffee during a stolen moment of peace and quiet.

Both the macaroons and buttercream begin with an aromatic "nut dust" as the pistachios are ground in a food processor with icing sugar.  This dust alone is stunning.  Once folded into the stiff egg white mixture, the batter takes on the appearance of pale green foam, reminiscent of the foam left on the beach during windy weather.  Piping the mixture onto baking trays is an absurdly delicate process as you attempt not to squeeze out all of the lovely, airy lightness from the mix.  I must admit to having flashes of pistachio pancakes emerging from the oven!

After leaving the first tray in the oven slightly too long, I achieved perfection at nine minutes with batch number two.  I had that fantastic sense of achievement which can only be experienced when successfully attempting something for the first time.  Proud as punch, I was taught a devastating lesson in patience as the first mound I touched (prodded) collapsed.  The still warm macaroons were not yet ready to touch. Of course, I was obligated to peel the now-flattened specimen off the tray to try.  It would have been mockingly cruel to leave him there beside his puffed up, majestic counterparts.  So I had no choice but to wait for the finished product if I was to continue my self-satisfaction.  The recipe for macaroons is definately not the one to pull out when you are looking for some instant gratification.

Buttercreamed, sandwiched and piled onto a serving dish, these macaroons prove themselves to indeed be "the world's most elegant macaroons."  They are classic, charming and well mannered in their appearance, flavour and textures.  Simply lovely, darlings!

F. x

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