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melmck

Pistachio Paste

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Update: The Manhattan site that carried Agrimontana just a few weeks ago now has Thiercelin, a French brand, priced at $175 per kilo (on the Thiercelin site it's $87). It says it is 100% pistachios. Might have to add a "pistachio surcharge" to those chocolates.

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I don't have the tin any more so I can't tell what else was in there but they also sell a 100% pure pistachio paste so they definitely have two different pistachio products.  I would venture a guess it had some almonds in there as well as some sugar; it was wonderful even with that.  This is what's on the PastryChef.com site: http://www.pastrychef.com/MEC3-Gelato-Flavoring-Pastes_c_53.html

 

and this is what I was hoping for: sicilian pistachio paste

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Thanks for clearing that up. On the Gourmet Food World site (to which you linked for the pure paste) I found the other MEC3 product (the one that Pastrychef sells), and it does contain almonds and sugar as well as pistachios. I suppose the price of the two products says it all:  2 kilos for $307 for the pure paste, 2 kilos for $141.50 for the mixed.

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I reread another thread on pistachio paste (mostly having to do with ice cream) and found the Fiddyment Farm reference, with some good reviews on Amazon for their paste. So I ordered a small container of paste and some pistachios and will see how that is. The pricing is about $125 for the equivalent of 2 kilos (somewhat different from the MEC3 pricing). I'll report here on how the California paste stacks up against the Sicilian.

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Speaking of ice cream, I have tried a couple different brands of pistachio paste for modernist gelato and have been disappointed.  Of course they were not $150 per kilo either.  Best results so far have been with Jif peanut butter.

 

 

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Best results so far have been with Jif peanut butter.

 That must be some new kind of alchemy?:D

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Spoke to the gelato maker who is next to us at the NW chocolate festival. He had a MEC3 'badge' on his chef's coat. He said there are two MEC3 products one pure Sicilian pistachio - the other a mix. He said you could contact him at info@nuttysquirrelgelato.com. He loves to talk pistachio!

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4 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Spoke to the gelato maker who is next to us at the NW chocolate festival. He had a MEC3 'badge' on his chef's coat. He said there are two MEC3 products one pure Sicilian pistachio - the other a mix. He said you could contact him at info@nuttysquirrelgelato.com. He loves to talk pistachio!

 

Yes, that is what JeanneCake pointed out. Thanks for the email contact. Tomorrow the paste I ordered from Fiddyment Farm arrives, and I will do a side-by-side taste test with the Agrimontana product.

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2 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

@Kerry Beal if you are still there can you ask him where he is getting the 100% pure Sicilian paste from please?

Sorry missed this til now - he was a talkative fellow - I'm sure if you contact him he'll be happy to tell you 

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With the prices I've been able to find for pistachio paste here in Canada, I decided to go the route of just not doing anything with pistachio unless it's something I can do with just the pistachio nuts. At $166/kg for the pistachio/almond blend and $230/kg for the pure pistachio, I couldn't make it profitable in my market. And to be completely honest, most of my market would probably pass over the pistachio if peanut butter or hazelnut where available at the same time. 

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Here is my comparison of the Agrimontana (Sicilian) and the Fiddyment Farm (California) pistachio pastes:  First, this is just my opinion (this should be obvious, but I will state it anyway). Second, I tried to taste them without concern for price, but it is difficult to do when the difference is so pronounced ($300+ vs. $127 for 2 kilos).

 

I did a blind taste test, plain and then with a piece of dark chocolate. I did not have a clear favorite for taste. In the Fiddyment, the oil does not separate out much at all, whereas in the Agrimontana, the separation is pronounced. This means that I might not have mixed up the latter well enough, but the Agrimontana is appreciably thicker. They are equal in smoothness--I detected no graininess in either one. The Agrimontana is darker in color (closer to brown than to green); I'm not sure if this means anything or not, perhaps just more roasting of the nuts? In answer to the crucial question as to which tastes more like pistachios, I would say the Fiddyment. The Agrimontana (the only ingredient listed is pistachios) has what might be called a "deeper" flavor, but the Fiddyment (which contains pistachios and pistachio oil) shouts out that it is ground-up pistachios.  The Fiddyment tastes slightly sweeter, but neither contains any added sweetener; perhaps California pistachios are sweeter by nature.

 

I have not tasted the MEC3 product, which is more readily available than the Agrimontana (see earlier in this thread); both are made from Sicilian pistachios. Of the two pastes I tasted, if I had to decide right now which to buy, it would be the Fiddyment Farm. I will need to take into account its less viscous texture, but this is easy to do.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

The Agrimontana is darker in color (closer to brown than to green); I'm not sure if this means anything or not, perhaps just more roasting of the nuts? In answer to the crucial question as to which tastes more like pistachios, I would say the Fiddyment.

 

To me, pistachios are one of the few nuts that are better raw.  Hazelnuts MUST be roasted & most others are improved to some degree, but not pistachios.

 

I was thinking of this topic the other day and picked up some raw California pistachios from Trader Joe's for $12/lb.  I'll grind them down then spin them in the stone grinder for a while and see what I come up with.  Even a mere $29/lb is too rich for my blood!

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On 11/14/2017 at 8:07 PM, Jim D. said:

You have a stone grinder?

 

Yeah, just a little one like this: Premier 2.0l Tilting Wet Grinder

 

I made hazelnut paste today with hazelnuts and powdered sugar, should do raspberries tomorrow - freeze dried berries, sugar, & cocoa butter.  I process the nuts in my cuisinart first until they go runny, then put them in the grinder to work out the hard  bits and mix in the sugar.

 

I'll trade you pistachio paste for Aw readings xD

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6 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I'll trade you pistachio paste for Aw readings xD

 

I would be glad to do readings, but the problem would be that by the time your sample gets to me, the reading would no longer be accurate.

 

When you mentioned not roasting pistachios, it occurred to me that I don't know whether the two brands I sampled yesterday were roasted or not--I just assumed they were. I always roast them, but only for a very short time as they burn very easily. I think it brings out their flavor.

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Agreed 200% with Pastrygirl.

Best thing is to make your own paste starting from raw pistachios. If you find good pistachios then it's better not to roast them. I would suggest to look in ethnic markets for Iranian and Syrian pistachios, in my opinion the best Iranian pistachios are better than the top crop of Bronte. Beware that a good amount of what is labelled as "Sicilian" pistachio is not Sicilian, it's imported and re-labeled. There is a huge fraud going on there.

If you make your own paste then you get it fresh, this means better taste due to less oxidization/rancidity and so on. Usually producers say that a brown pistachio paste is a good sign, since it's "natural" (no additives, no colorings). In my experience when you start with green pistachios (the good ones) then you get green paste. Brown paste means they started from not green pistachios (not the best). People choose with their eyes, green pistachio is much more appealing than brown.

The paste prices you wrote are simply insane, your food cost would skyrocket over the final cost. With the price of 5 kg of paste you buy the wet grinder plus 5 kg of raw pistachios, after that you are freerolling. Saying your customers that you house-make everything starting from whole nuts is a selling point.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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On 11/14/2017 at 10:14 PM, pastrygirl said:

 

Yeah, just a little one like this: Premier 2.0l Tilting Wet Grinder

 

I made hazelnut paste today with hazelnuts and powdered sugar, should do raspberries tomorrow - freeze dried berries, sugar, & cocoa butter.  I process the nuts in my cuisinart first until they go runny, then put them in the grinder to work out the hard  bits and mix in the sugar.

 

I'll trade you pistachio paste for Aw readings xD

Jim - at the NW chocolate festival - we had a Premier grinder at one of the EZtemper tables - @Alleguede made hazelnut and almond praliné with toasted hazelnuts, roasted almond, caramelized sugar and a bit of salt. Not only was the grinder running a draw to our table - but the smell of the praliné as well! We did discover that letting it run overnight tended to dim the hazelnut flavor - but by god that stuff was smooth the next day.

 

We made some gianduja with it using the nib to bar chocolate that we made in the Cocoatown grinder that we had on our other table. We molded it up in the little flower mold I usually travel with - cut them in four. I turned my back for a few seconds and the crowds decended like a plague of locust and they were all gone. Thank heaven we had set aside a couple of pieces to impress the folks who provided us with the grinders

 

Oh yeah - are you coming to the Workshop this year? @Alleguede and I plan to run two masters classes - one on the pastes and praliné. We hope to have the Premier people there and run a number of their units - which will then be available for people to buy and take home. So if you are coming - bring a big suitcase. 

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11 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Jim - at the NW chocolate festival - we had a Premier grinder at one of the EZtemper tables - @Alleguede made hazelnut and almond praliné with toasted hazelnuts, roasted almond, caramelized sugar and a bit of salt. Not only was the grinder running a draw to our table - but the smell of the praliné as well! We did discover that letting it run overnight tended to dim the hazelnut flavor - but by god that stuff was smooth the next day.

 

We made some gianduja with it using the nib to bar chocolate that we made in the Cocoatown grinder that we had on our other table. We molded it up in the little flower mold I usually travel with - cut them in four. I turned my back for a few seconds and the crowds decended like a plague of locust and they were all gone. Thank heaven we had set aside a couple of pieces to impress the folks who provided us with the grinders

 

Oh yeah - are you coming to the Workshop this year? @Alleguede and I plan to run two masters classes - one on the pastes and praliné. We hope to have the Premier people there and run a number of their units - which will then be available for people to buy and take home. So if you are coming - bring a big suitcase. 

 

 

Is this a stone grinder?  Will it grind grains as well as nuts?  If so will it produce a fine flour?

 

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Is this a stone grinder?  Will it grind grains as well as nuts?  If so will it produce a fine flour?

 

I'll find out

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9 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'll find out

Nope - it won't - you need a millstone grinder apparently.

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

Nope - it won't - you need a millstone grinder apparently.

 

Thanks for checking, Kerry.  My Waring WSG60 makes nut paste adequate for my purposes, though I've yet to try pistachio.  Currently I find myself re-researching flour mills.  For some reason.

 

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6 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Thanks for checking, Kerry.  My Waring WSG60 makes nut paste adequate for my purposes, though I've yet to try pistachio.  Currently I find myself re-researching flour mills.  For some reason.

 

Yeah - I know how that works - next thing you'll have one!

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