I know, another post dedicated entirely to pistachios. I know, there are other ingredients in the world, as Oren likes to say. But you know, I have another 3 kg of emerald Sicilian Bronte pistachios in the pantry and this pandemic lockdown calls for using them all. Last week I made an out of this world pistachio tart (thanks Mor!), which led me to make this pistachio version of the hazelnut succès that I made somewhere at the beginning of this blog.

It’s nice to return to old recipes. To see how my mind once worked, and to discover how my baking has improved. A recipe that was once nerve-wracking has become easy. I love this succès. It’s a dessert that takes a certain nut and celebrates it in every layer, from the base to the decorative crown. I made it once with hazelnuts and once with walnuts, but this one is my favorite variation.

In the hazelnut succès, I combined homemade Nutella spread with mousseline cream. We’ve grown up since. This time I used praliné. But not just any hazelnut praliné. Pistachio praliné! A lot of friends have been talking recently about pistachio praliné and the idea worked its way into my brain. It’s ridiculous how delicious it is. I need to think of other desserts with pistachio praliné. Or maybe I should just make it and eat it with a spoon.

Pistachios
Pistachio praliné
Pistachio dacquoise
Pistachio dacquoise
mousseline cream
mousseline cream
Pistachio Succès with Pistachio Praliné

Pistachio praliné
150 g shelled pistachio
30 g water
110 g sugar
A pinch of salt

Pistachio mousseline cream
250 g milk
60 g egg yolk
(about 4 medium egg yolks)
60 g sugar
20 g corn starch
60 g butter
(cut into cubes)
60 g softened butter
(cut into cubes)Pistachio praliné

Pistachio dacquoise
30 g flour
120 g shelled pistachios
100 g powdered sugar
145 g egg white
(about 4 medium egg whites)
55 g sugar

Caramelized pistachios *
70 g shelled pistachios
60 g water
100 g sugar

+ A little powdered sugar for dusting

Equipment
Pastry bags
Smooth piping tip, 10 mm in diameter


* Caramelized pistachios look good on the succès. It’s a beautiful decoration, but to be honest, it makes cutting the succès a little harder, not to mention how time consuming it is to make. In retrospect, I should have just used roasted pistachios instead.


Pistachio praliné

Roast pistachios: Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 ºF. Scatter the pistachios on a baking tray and roast for about 7 minutes until they brown a bit. Remove from oven and chill at room temperature before use.

Make caramel: Put water and then sugar in a saucepan. Place on medium heat. Stir the sugar with a spatula to dissolve it. Once the water starts to boil, stop stirring and remove the spatula. Keep on medium heat until you get an ember – light brown color. (You may slightly tilt the saucepan now and then to get a more uniform heating).

Important (!) The more you cook the caramel, the darker the color will be. The caramel might become bitter.

Once you reach the desired color, remove the saucepan from heat. Add pistachios and salt to the saucepan. Mix until all pistachios are covered in a thin layer of caramel. Pour the caramelized pistachios and all the remaining caramel onto a baking paper (no need to separate them just yet). Let them cool down at room temperature.

Break the chunk of pistachios into smaller pieces and transfer to a small food processor. Grind in short pulses until you obtain a powder and then grind again at high speed until you get a creamy pistachio paste. Scrape the sides occasionally. The process could take up to 10 minutes. Transfer the praliné into a medium bowl.

Pistachio mousseline cream

Begin warming milk in a small pot. Add about a third of the sugar to the milk. Add the rest of the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk immediately. Add corn starch and whisk again.

Once the milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour into the yolk-sugar mix while whisking all along. Pour the mixture through a sieve back to the saucepan (to get rid of egg chunks that may have hardened while adding the hot milk). Heat on medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy.

Remove from heat and transfer the mixture immediately to the bowl containing the pistachio praliné. Whisk until uniform. Add the cubes of butter (not the softened one) and stir until uniform. Lay plastic wrap on top of the cream. Keep in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then in the fridge until the cream is cold (prepare the dacquoise in the meantime).

Pistachio dacquoise

Draw a 22 cm circle on two parchment papers and place each one on a baking tray with the drawn circle side down. Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 360 °F.

Grind flour, pistachios and powdered sugar together in a food processor for about half a minute only until you get a powder. Be careful not to grind too much to avoid getting a puree. Sift into a bowl. Put any remaining large chunks in the processor and grind again.

French meringue: Whip egg whites in a mixer on medium speed until thick white foam is formed. While still whipping at medium speed, add sugar gradually and slowly. After all sugar is added, increase speed to high and whip until you get a strong and firm meringue.

Transfer one third of the pistachio powder mix to the meringue and fold with a spatula. Add the remaining powder mix and continue to fold until uniform. Fit a pastry bag with a 10 mm smooth piping tip and fill it with the meringue. Attach the parchment paper unto the tray with a little meringue on the corners.

For the crown, pipe adjacent circles, 3.5 cm diameter each, one by one within the bounds of the circle drawn on the parchment paper, leaving a relatively large hole in the center to be used for decoration at the end. For the bottom, pipe a spiral shape that begins from the center and ends at the perimeter of the circle drawn on the second parchment paper.

Place the two trays in the oven (crown below, bottom above) and bake for 15-25 minutes until the edges begin to brown (the bottom will be ready before the crown). Remove from oven and let them cool to room temperature before assembly.

Assembly

Remove the mousseline cream from the fridge. Whip the cream for about 3-5 minutes. Simultaneously, add the soft butter cubes (creamy texture) gradually until the cream is uniform and smooth. Fit a pastry bag with a 10 mm smooth tip and fill it with the cream.

Flip the dacquoise crown and bottom and release the baking parchment from them. Place the flipped dacquoise bottom on a serving plate. Using the mousseline cream, pipe adjacent circles on the outskirts of the dacquoise bottom and fill up the center by piping the cream in a spiral shape.

Place the dacquoise crown on top of the cream. Keep in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. The flavors will be better combined and the dacquoise will soften during that rest time.

Caramelized pistachios

Decoration: caramelized pistachios

The Sicilian pistachios I used are well covered with a thin purple peel. Had I used regular pistachios, I would have just skipped peeling them.

Peel the pistachios: To remove the peel, fill a pan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add a cup of pistachios (about 140g). Keep aside for about 4 minutes. Strain the pistachios from the hot water and rinse in cold water. Peel the pistachios one by one by pinching them with your fingers.

Roast the pistachios: Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 ºF. Scatter the pistachios on a baking tray and roast for about 12-14 minutes until they brown a bit. Remove from oven and chill at room temperature before use.

Make Caramel: Put water and then sugar in a saucepan. Place on medium heat. Stir the sugar with a spatula to dissolve it. Once the water starts to boil, stop stirring and remove the spatula. Keep on medium heat until you get an ember – light brown color. (You may slightly tilt the saucepan now and then to get a more uniform heating).

Important (!) The more you cook the caramel, the darker the color will be. The caramel might become bitter.

Once you reach the desired color, remove the saucepan from heat. Add pistachios and salt to the saucepan. Mix until most of the pistachios are covered with a thin layer of caramel.

Using a fork, remove pistachios one by one (or a few of them together), from the saucepan and place them on a parchment paper. The more you separate them, the easier it will be to cut into the succès.

Cool the caramelized pistachios in room temperature. Sift the powdered sugar over the succès and then place the caramelized pistachios in the center on top of the cream. Cut into slices and serve with a cup of coffee. Keep in the fridge for about 2 days.

Pistachio Succès with Pistachio Praliné
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