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Pistachio Curd / Pistachio Mousse


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I have a bunch of shelled pistachios. A big bunch! And I want to create a custardy like pistachio filling to go on a cake. HERE are a bunch of previous topics about pistachios. None of these seem to be giving me what I'm needing or addressing my textural concerns.

I want smooth and sturdy. I'm thinking this would be a pastry cream moreso than a mousse, but a mousse could work if I added some gelatin. I absolutely do not want grit or chunk. Any recipes out there? Can I do this without the addition of extracts or flavorings?

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while pistachios are great to munch on and as additions for texture to cookies, etc., i find them sorely lacking when attempting to infuse them into something like a custard or mousse. they just don't have a distinct or strong enough aroma/flavor to give something enough 'ooomph'.

another weird thing is that pistachio extracts/pastes/compounds always just are sort of one-off almond extracts in my opinion. i haven't tried amoretti brand flavoring, maybe that's better.

rob, it definitely sounds like you want to make something like a pastry cream or pudding base (which you could easily lighten with whipped cream and stabilize with gelatin if you wanted), but i really don't know if you want to waste your pistachios on something like that. the amount you'd need to use to infuse would be pretty big and the results (in my past experience) aren't overwhelmingly "pistachio-like" to make it worthwhile.

maybe just pistachio brittle? throw some in some nougat? toast, chop and put in shortbread?

oh well, that's just my opinion.

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It obviously wont be remotely green no matter how you approach it, but you could certainly infuse milk and make a pastry cream. Seems like a waste of whole pistachios, when pistachio oil would give a more defined taste with a lot less work.

Are the pistachios skinned as well? If so, you could toss em with a little egg white and then dredge em in superfine sugar, dry em out on top of an oven and use them for a garnish on the cake.

The thing you would really want for the mousse or pastry cream is a good paste. MEC makes a great one with a natural green color that's pretty kickass.

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I do have pistachio oil as well, so I'll try that. They do not have skins, so they are ready to go - all 50 pounds of them. I hear the cautions and will re-direct my energies into a pistachio dessert that's more likely to succeed. I will however try to find a way to warm and squish the flavors out of the nuts without wasting all 50 pounds. Thanks guys.

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I have two recipes for pistachio pastry cream.

Pistachio Pastry Cream

This is from Nightscotsman

The pistachio pastry cream is just regular pastry cream mixed with pistachio paste and lightened with whipped cream.

1000 g cold pastry cream

40 g pistachio paste

200 g whipped cream (whipped very stiff)

Pistachio Pastry Cream

1 1/4 c half and half

3/4 c unsalted pistachio nuts

1/2 c sugar

4 lg egg yolks

2 tb all purpose flour

1 ts vanilla extract

Bring half and half and pistachios to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Whisk sugar, yolks and flour in medium bowl to blend. Bring half and half mixture to simmer; gradually whisk into yolk mixture. Return to same saucepan; stir over medium heat until mixture bubbles thickly, about 5 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Transfer to processor; blend until nuts are very finely chopped. Transfer pistachio pastry cream to bowl. Cover and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

Makes About 3 Cups

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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And I'll assume based on Alana's comments that the first recipe will be the most pistachio-y.  I wish I had the paste. 

Some days my ruralness misses access to key ingredients (says the man who owns a specialty food store).

Yes, the first one is definitely more pistachio-y. Well, pistachio paste is very expensive, but as some one who has used it for her wedding cake, it was definitely worth the cost.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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If you end up going on a scavenger hunt for pistachio paste, I second the recommendation for MEC. I get the one from Agrimontana, which for me is easier to find (a distributor here in Boston carries their line) and it's good too. And on an unrelated topic, I love the apricot jam from Agrimontana, it is excellent. I make a regular linzertorte with raspberry jam, but use the same hazelnut dough (from the RLB pastry book. I add egg white to some of the batter to pipe the lattice.) for an Apricot Linzer and it is great. For Valentine's day I might go with a Cherry Linzer if I can find a super cherry bakeproof jam.... sorry, back on topic now!

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Could you grind the pistachios into butter, use that to flavor your pastry cream and work the cream through a very fine sieve before cooling? I know that would be a lot of work if you're talking large quantity but it would make use of the pistachios you already have. I've used all-natural almond and cashew butters to flavor things with great results but I've never tried making pistachio butter so I may be way off here.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Update. I made a pistachio cake which was another component of the dessert I'm working on - it sank (details coming in the Amernick topic), and then this morning someone brought pistachio pudding stuff to church which was very yummy but very artificial. I liked the flavor I got from the cake which was just finely ground pistachios. I'll keep playing. If all else fails I think I have some flavorings from my freebie pack from Amoretti.

Thanks everyone for the feedback and ideas.

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