Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pistachio macarons with Black sesame buttercream

Yay! I'm back with more macarons! Have I told you how much I adore these little round shaped cookies? Or maybe I haven't told you enough how much I love to look at them as much as I love to devour them. They are such a pretty sight to see and I think I more I make them, the more I got addicted to them. My husband's favorite flavor is pistachio. So to please my "customer", I made the pistachio once again, but with a twist on the buttercream filling to make it a little more interesting. 
I got a jar of this black sesame paste from a Japanese supermarket a while back without knowing what to use it on. So the thought came to me while whipping up the Swiss buttercream. Five minutes later I got myself some black sesame buttercream to dress my pistachio macarons with. I totally love how the flavors play out so nice together. The black sesame paste definitely highlights  the creamy, nutty flavors of the buttercream and the pistachio. I think this is my new favorite combination. My husband, in the other hand, is still loyal to his pistachio and the original buttercream, so I saved half of the plain buttercream for him and the other half to mix with black sesame paste for myself. And we are all happy campers!

The recipe that I used for all of my macarons is still the same one that I adapted from "Not so humble pie". This recipe follows a French method where the egg white is whipped into meringue form before incorporated into the almond flour and powder sugar mixture. It doesn't require the complicated step of cooking the sugar syrup before being mixed into the meringue as seen in the Italian method.

I thought of trying a different method (i.e. the Italian method) to experiment the difference in textures, but the comfort and the ease of using the French method had won me over every time. May be one of these day, when I gather enough courage to try new thing, then I promise I will give it a try. For now please bear with me.


Yield about 80 shells (40 macarons)

60g almond meal and 60g pistachio meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites (aged for 24hrs on the kitchen counter)
35g granulated sugar
Green food coloring gel (4-5 drops)

1. Mix together almond and pistachio meal with powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until all incorporate well, sift and set aside. Place egg whites in a clean bow of a stand mixer, start at low speed (number 2) until foamy then gradually add in granulated sugar and increase speed to medium (number 6). Add in food color and continue to beat the meringue until a stiff peak formed (do not over mix). 

2. Add the nut flour mixture into the meringue in three additions and start folding until all incorporated (about 50 strokes). This step is very crucial for macarons, make sure you don't over mixed the batter otherwise it will become too runny. However, under-mixed batter will yield cracked and footless macarons. The mixture should flow down like a strand of ribbon as the spatula lifted from the batter. 

3. Attach the round tip (Ateco #11) to the pastry bag and pipe them onto the prepared baking sheets that lined with silpat or parchment paper . The size of each cookie is about the size of a quarter (1 inch), and make sure to leave enough space between the cookies. Pick up the tray and tap down hard on the counter to bring up the bubbles inside the macarons.
4. Let the macarons rest at room temperature for about 30min to dry up the surface (it's ready when it doesn't stick to your finger or feel wet when touched)

5. Preheat the oven to 300F, place an aluminum foil sheet on the top rack to prevent the macarons from  browning too quickly. Then place the cookie sheet on the bottom rack and bake for about 13-15min. 
6. Remove from the oven and let they cool down a little before remove from the silpat or parchment paper. Cool completely on the cookie rack before adding the filling.
7. Assemble the macaron with a small dap of buttercream filling in the middle of one macaron and top with another macaron. Refrigerate the macarons in an airtight container for 24-48hrs before devour them. The macarons need time to mature and absorb the moisture from the filling, so be patient and trust me it worth the wait!
Black sesame buttercream:

50 grams egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
100 grams sugar
150 grams butter, softened
2 tsp of black sesame paste
Mix the egg whites and sugar and place them in the double boiler. Whisk them together until all the sugar dissolved and the egg whites start to turn white and fluffy. Continue whisking until the egg whites become hot to tough. Transfer the egg whites into a mixer bow and start whipping at high speed until light and fluffy (or until the bow is not hot anymore, it takes about 3-5 min).
Start adding softened butter piece by piece until all incorporated into the meringue. It might look like it is curdling but continue whipping will make it comes together. Finally add the black sesame paste and mix well. 

Note: I learned of a way to fix the curdled buttercream. For most part, if you continue whipping, the curdling will slowly disappear. However, if things ever go haywire, instead of throwing away your curdled buttercream, you can give this method a try. Take out 1/4 portion of your buttercream, microwave it for about 15 seconds. Start the mixer at low speed, then slowly add microwaved buttercream back to the curdled buttercream. Increase the speed to medium-high and watch the magic takes place when the buttercream slowly comes together.

Making these little goodie bags of macarons for gifts are perfect for any occasions and you can brighten up somebody's day.

Enjoy baking!


  1. Stunning macarons! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

    1. Thanks Julia for the compliment and for visiting.

  2. Your instructions are so clear. Thanks for the details, it helps a lot. I love your blog and everything about it.

    1. Thanks Elajr. Hope you enjoy the cooking and baking as much as I do:)!

  3. They are such a beautiful colour! I've been wanting to try pistachio but haven't found unsalted pistachios locally - I'll have to scour the wholefoods and gourmet shops for them. Gorgeous macarons - I totally know what you mean about just looking at them! :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I found these raw, unsalted pistachio nuts at Sprout supermarket. They sell it in bulk, so u can get as much as you want. They have locations in CA, I'm not sure if they are also in other states or where you live. It's a little more expensive ($15/lb) than the salted or roasted one, but it's so good eating raw or baking and so worth the money. I think wholefood only carries salted or roasted one. Hope you can find it soon. :)

  4. Your strawberry macarons call for 110 grams of almond meal and your pistachio ones call for a total of 120 grams almond meal (with pistachios). Does the 10 gram difference matter?

    Is it safe to leave egg whites out on the counter?


  5. I just realized the extra 10 grams came from the freeze dried strawberries. Would you mind answering my question on the egg whites?


  6. Sorry for all the questions, wish I could edit my comments! For green color gel, is it leaf green? I have both Wilton and AmeriColor.

  7. Hi Rachel, the egg whites are perfectly safe at room temp on your kitchen counter. I usually leave it out in a closed lid container for a day then put it back in the fridge until I'm ready to make it. You can leave it in the fridge for a week or so. Just make sure to take it out and bring it back to room temp for a few hours before making the macs. I used the food paste color that I bought from Williams-Sonoma store, it just says green on the bottle. I usually add about 2-3 drops depend on how dark of the shade I want. Hope it helps :-)

  8. When putting the eggs whites on the double boiler am I trying to cook them here, or just hot enough to dissolve the sugar? Could I skip this and just put the egg whites directly into the mixer to beat?

    1. I have done it many times and still in luck with not getting it cooked:)
      I usually have a small pot of boiling water on the stove and tilt the stainless steel mixing bowl containing egg whites and sugar on top of the pot. Start whisking the egg white with sugar vigorously until it becomes very frothy then immediately transfer to the stand mixer and start the whipping process until stiff peak. This step is to help pasteurize the egg whites to prevent harmful pathogens in uncooked eggs. It won't be hot enough to cook your eggs in a short amount of time.

  9. Kat,I've tried for 3 years now and failed,until your recipe came along.
    Thanks for sharing.It's a lot of trial and error though.
    I have a 5 year old toddler very interested and he knows how to spot a genuine macaron!
    Keith SA

  10. Hi there! I was wondering where can I find the almond and pistachio meal. Thanks!


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