Colouring and Pistachio Macarons

When I found myself preparing photos for Mad About Macarons within a short deadline, I wanted something a bit different for a pistachio macaron shot. Tossing in my sleep one hot night I hit on an idea: ice cream? I rushed first thing next morning to our local Gelateria Amareno in St Germain-en-Laye, asked the owner if I could borrow an ice cream cone stand and ran off with it – leaving him with a cheque just to prove I’d return it. He thought I was NUTS. Little did he know I was almond and pistachio nuts and definitely mad about them in macaron form.

Pistachio and pistachio-white chocolate-wasabi macarons from the book

As many friends, family and colleagues would tell me they couldn’t even attempt to make macarons as they were difficult, I was on a mission to help combat their macaron stumbling block. The aim of the book is therefore aimed at beginners to get perfect macarons with simple instructions. This means keeping the recipe straight forward too. For the pistachio recipe, the pistachios are all in the filling: the ganache or cream rests in the shells for at least 24 hours before eating them so that it permeates into the shell, making the whole macaron take on the flavours and take on a wonderful fondant finish inside.

Tip: Almonds are the least oily of nuts and easier to work with for making macarons. As pistachios – like other nuts – can be oily, I would recommend if you’re going to use ground (unsalted) pistachios in the shells, to substitute a third of the ground almonds for pistachios (or other nuts.)

Arnaud Lahrer’s pistachio and cherry macarons, finished with food colouring spray

It never ceases to amaze me in pâtisseries in Paris just how different pistachio macaron colourings can vary. Call me a snob, but I prefer to have pistachio macarons the colour of ground pistachios. Gerard Mulot in Paris, for example, does fabulous pistachio macarons in flavour but just look at the colour…

Here, Café Pouchkine and Acide Macaron have a pistachio macaron with orange flower water. Both delicious perfection and different colouring ideas.

Acide and Pouchkine’s pistachio macarons

Not completely pistachio, but if you’ve tried Hermé’s Mosaïc macaron, you get the pistachio in between cinnamon shells and with a black cherry that winks at you. Great for cinnamon lovers, since it stands out plus the pistachio colour is pistachio.

So what colouring do I use? I prefer powdered colourings, as a tiny amount is needed in comparison to liquid colourings, which can affect the meringue if you add too much liquid. For pistachio, use a good pinch of green colouring with a tiny pinch of brown or caramel to soften the green. (I say a pinch, as so little is needed. You’ll see for yourself: if you use a teaspoon or even half, it’s too much.) 3 parts green to 1 part brown or caramel colouring.

Previously, I ordered powdered colourings at and at MORA in rue Montmartre in Paris – until I discovered Déco Relief just across the road from Mora. The staff are delightful and eager to please, which in my book deserves customers. So, my friends, I recommend you pop in to see Djamel at Déco Relief, 6 rue Montmartre, and tell him I sent you. His colleague is a great fan of Glasgow in Scotland! Yes, like the Scots, they are chatty.

As Antoine isn’t a fan of cinnamon, he asked just for plain pistachio macarons the other day. Nothing fancy but they were delicious.

You might also like

Comments (30)

Since I’m addicted to pistachio ice cream at Gelateria Amorino I have to correct you ahem (No E! in Amorino) but very interesting topic – this coloring thing.
I have seen macarons that were ‘naturally’ colored = beige basically.
I always wonder what’s in these magic colorants. And certainly why some patissiers choose to use such intense colors can be perplexing. Yours look perfect!
merci carolg

Thanks, Carol. My French is luckily better than my Italian, lol.

Your macs look scrumptious, as usual!
And for all other readers, I concur with Jill, Djamel and his wee Glasgow-loving helper at Déco Relief are really really nice and “très commerçant”!
Just one little technical question… do you make your own pistachio paste (and if so, how) and if not, where would one look to find some in sunny Glasgow please? 🙂
Merci d’avance!

Hi Jérôme,
It’s not easy to find pistachio paste in Glasgow (checked with the Editor who lives there) but some UK online possibilities are below.
When I’ve been in a rush and had no paste, I’ve simply ground an extra 50g of shelled/blanched/unsalted pistachios, added 2-3 drops of almond extract and continued with the recipe. My source of pistachios from my local store are oily enough that on grinding them finely they turn into a natural looking paste. If your pistachios are drier, then add 1tsp glucose syrup.
Melbury & Appleton;

Merci Jill!!! 🙂

I think your pistachio macs are the loveliest color. The screaming green ones are fun but no matter how loud they are, they don’t convey pistachio.

Comments are closed

Post a comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your email address will not be published. I love hearing from you about the recipes, the articles and your ideas for future posts.