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Homemade Pistachio Paste

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Pistachio paste is used to flavor ice creams, pastries or custards. Yesterday, I made my own from scratch using Pierre Hermé's instructions. Amazing!

Pistachio paste is bought by professional pastry chefs in shops like G. Detout to flavor everything from ice creams and custards to pies and macaroons. During my last pastry class at Lenôtre we made a pistachier and the chef told us that 'Pistachio paste cannot be made - you have to buy it'. Well, Pierre Hermé, the modest emperor of French pastry, makes his own pistachio paste.

Here is his recipe using high quality shelled unsalted pistachios I bought in Istanbul's Spice market.

Pierre Hermé's Pistachio Paste
500 gr shelled pistachios
125 gr white almond powder
250 gr sugar
7 cl water
a few drops bitter almond extract

Pound the pistachios in a heavy mortar.

This is heavy work and it takes a very long time to obtain a fine powder.

Using an electrical kitchen mixer can help (photo) but is no panacea as the pistachio crumbles will pile up on each side until the blade runs on empty space.

The paste starts to look like baklava offal.

Mix in the ground almonds.

Add one or two drops of bitter almond extract. This is a very potent substance and it will quickly overwhelm the pistachios - be careful.


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