Perusing the slowly expanding archives of this blog it's becoming quite obvious to me that: a) I'm obsessed with baking green things and b) I love baking with booze. I'm happy to say the two hobbies have now converged to make this little guy: a chocolate macaron filled with boozy pistachio buttercream. The boozy pistachio bit comes from my newly acquired, obscure Austrian pistachio liqueur, which brought me much delight when it finally arrived one lunchtime and came lazily slithering out of the bottle like so much thick pea soup - so much so I wandered back to work that afternoon reeking of alcohol. Having to pound the bottom of the bottle to get the liqueur to come oozing out wasn't the most appetizing thing in the world - but the green goodness itself was most delicious.
The macarons turned out reasonably well. This batch were the first to dip into my epic 1kg bag of ground almonds. And really, when one buys a kilo of ground almonds perhaps there's another obsession one ought to confess to.
Swiss buttercream with pistachio liqueur
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 180g butter
- 3-4 tablespooons pistachio liqueur or another thick, flavourful booze
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Mix on low speed until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Remove from heat and beat again until the mixture is at room temperature, doubles in size and falls off the beaters in silky ribbons.
2. Continue mixing on medium-high speed, adding the butter by the tablespoon then continue mixing until the mixture separates and looks awfully curdled - this is how you know you're almost there! Keep mixing a little while longer and the buttercream will come together and be lovely and smooth. Add the liqueur and mix again briefly. Use straight away or refrigerate until needed - in which case let it come to room temperature before using.
- 200g icing sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 30g caster sugar
- 4 egg whites, aged 48 hours
1. Blitz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until very fine. Whip the egg whites, gradually adding in the caster sugar, until stiff peaks form. Sift in the icing sugar and ground almond mixture into the egg whites, then fold in gently with a wooden spoon.
2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted, ideally, with a 808 size plain nozzle and pipe our the macarons. Let the little guys sit on the counter for a bit until they no longer stick to your finger when you touch them lightly.
3. Pop them in the oven, leaving the door slightly ajar using a wooden spoon. Bake for 15 or so minutes, turning half way through baking time. Let cool to room temperature. If the macarons are stuck to the parchment, pour a little bit of hot water from a boiled kettle underneath the paper, swirling it around - the steam will help you dislodge the macs.
4. Sandwich the macarons with the buttercream and scoff'em.