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Dianabanana

La Cuisine Pistachio Essence

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So I did a little taste test of the La Cuisine pistachio "essence" and thought it might be of interest to some here, as there has recently been discussion in a couple of different threads about how to get a stronger pistachio flavor in various dishes.

The La Cuisine essences are supposedly steam distillations of the ingredient. How that works for a nut, as opposed to a fruit, I have no idea. Rose Levy Beranbaum is a big proponent of these essences, though, including the pistachio. It smells somewhat like almond extract, but unlike almond extract, this is very thick and dark.

I just happen to also have a jar of Stramondo Pistachio Cream, which is nothing more than Sicilian pistachios and cane sugar--the ideal thing against which to test the pistachio essence. To make it as close a comparison as possible (without exerting myself, and because I had no better ideas) I just rubbed a drop of the essence into some cane sugar. Also, to confirm or dispel my almond extract suspicions, I rubbed a drop of Penzey's almond extract into some cane sugar.

Conclusion: It's definitely not just almond extract, but, as you'd expect, it's a lot less complex than real pistachios. The almond extract is totally one-dimensional. The pistachio cream is a symphony of flavors. The pistachio essence falls somewhere in between, and has a strong almond component. I haven't used it anything yet, but I'm planning to use it in the Sicilian Pistachio Cake from RLB's Heavenly Cakes.

Also, the pistachio cream is freaking delicious. So far I've made about 36 trips to the fridge to sneak a spoonful straight from the jar.

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Thanks for the information... I do use pistachios in my marzipan and my ice creams... but would like to "bump up" the flavour, at times... would this help - or take away the subtle pistachio "complexities"?

Also - does anyone know of a really good violet extract? I ordered one from France - it arrived and is bitter. I LOVE violette ganaches - and want to make violette macaron - but need a really great extract first. HELP!!!

Thanks!


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Valerie: A Canadian Foodie

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http://www.acanadianfoodie.com

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I got it at De Laurenti in Pike Place Market, during the same delirium of impulse shopping that netted the poivron rouge. I hate to tell you what all else I bought. The pistachio cream was $32 for a small jar and now that I know how good it is, I'd probably pay twice that. Highly recommended!

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Okay, when I made the buttercream for the pistachio cake, I set aside two tablespoons before flavoring it and added the pistachio cream to one and the pistachio essence to the other. I was surprised to find that I preferred the pistachio essence. You can taste the pure pistachio flavor very strongly in the pistachio cream, but it gets muddied when added to the buttercream. Even though the essence isn't a true pistachio flavor, it seems a lot closer once added to the buttercream.

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Where is Pike Market?

Seattle, Washington.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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