Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Montebello
I’d read about pistachio paste being used in pastry recipes for the longest time and have been really curious to how it actually taste like. I even tried to make some myself, modifying Jacques Torres’ recipe for DIY almond paste and used it for Tarte aux Fruits Rouges sometime back but its definitely one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” kinda experience which I’m not too eager in replicating anytime soon. This is to much relief of Mr Food Blender who overworked and concussed twice while the homemade pistachio paste was churning furiously in his guts. Thankfully after some cooling down and ample rest, he sprang back to life, though i’m sure the old dog is not quite the same as before after his “near-death experience”. Surely is “diet” has become more picky, and wary of what he is being “fed” nowadays. I’ve heard of others of his kind “fuming mad” quite literally while in action, probably lamenting how they had been ill-treated by their owners. I can’t risk giving Mr Food Blender indigestion problems as he is a much valued asset in the kitchen, probably assigned simpler tasks now like purees and rempahs, so no more “hardcore” stuff, quite literally.
After some searching around, I’d managed to source some commercially made pistachio paste which was quite pleasing in colour and texture. But there’s a whooping 1kg of it to be expended so I’m finding every means to use it whenever I can. Since there were leftover raspberries from Tarte Ispahan, a fine opportunity for another Pierre Hermé’s macaron creations, Macaron Montebello.
Macaron Montebello, which translates into “beautiful mountain” is a “composite” creation that is part of Pierre Hermé’s “fetish” series alongside other themes like Mogador, Sarah and Satine etc. By composite, I mean that the filling is made up of 2 components, a raspberry-flavoured gelée encased in a pistachio paste-infused ganache, sandwiched between coques in brilliant red and green. Thankfully both fairly simple to prepare. Baking macaron shells has become part and parcel of this baking hobby so that is done fairly quickly but definitely not hastily. Macaron shells are known to be fiendishly temperamental in making, so I’m not taking any risks. Alas all went reasonably well, thanks to the blessings from the macaron gods.
Pierre Hermé’s original recipe was intended for 72 macarons (144 shells). I’d scaled it down to make only 1/4 portion of that.
Make and bake macaron shells with your preferred method, or you can refer to the shell recipe here from Macaron Ispahan.
The filling components are as follows
La gelée de framboise
75g fresh raspberries (or frozen)
15g caster sugar
1/2 sheets of gelatine (about 1g)
La ganache pistache
60g crème fraiche
60g chocolat blanc de couverture (Valrhona ivoire )
10g pistachio paste
Start by preparing the raspberry gelée. Reconstitute gelatine in cold water for 15 minutes. Puree raspberries and sugar in blender. Sieve it to remove seeds. Heat a quarter of the puree at 45 oC. drain gelatine from water and squeeze out excess water. Incorporate it into the warm puree. Mix and add the remaining raspberry puree. Pour into a dish lined with cling film to a height of about 4 mm. Cool to room temperature before putting into the freezer for 2 hours. Turn out the gelée and cutting into squares.Return them to the freezer before use.
Next prepare the pistachio paste ganache . Melt the chopped chocolate over a bain marie. At the same time, bring crème fraiche to a boil with the pistachio paste. Pour it in 3 times over melted chocolate. Mix until the ganache is smooth.
Transfer it into a dish and cover with cling film directly over the surface of the prepared ganache. Keep it in the refrigerator. Pour the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with piping nozzle.
Pipe over an inverted macaron shell. Press lightly in the center, a cube of frozen raspberry gelée. Pipe a small bit of ganache over the gelée. Cover the filling with shell of the other colour and press down gently.
Keep the macarons in the refrigerator 24 hours to “mature”. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours and return to room temperature before serving.
Reflections and Modifications
Making this recipe takes barely an hour, but the whole process takes about 2 days, owing to the multiple chilling and freezing of the components. The raspberry gelee and piatachio ganache can be prepared the day before and left in the fridge overnight. Macaron shells made on the same day as the assemblage, ready to be put together once the shells have cooled sufficiently. After that, the products are still not quite finished yet as they require a couple more hours of chilling for the flavours and correct moisture levels to develop. So patience can be such a virtue in wanting.
The piping bag was filled with piatachio paste before everything is chilled together, so it is ready to be used “out of the bag” after it has soften a bit at ambient temperature after being taken out of overnight hibernation.
I’d used Sevarome pistachio paste for this recipe but according to Pierre Hermé, one can also blend about 6-7 unsalted pistachios with crème fraiche. But be forewarned that the product would not be as smooth as storebought pistachio paste
Truth be told, I didn’t quite like the smell of Sevarome’s pistachio paste when I took my first whiff of it freshly out of the tub. It reeked heavily of alcohol and “POW!” was I hit hard as the vapour surged up the nasal cavity, due to me being over zealous in wanting to “enjoy the full flavours” and nutty aroma from ground pistachio, and inhaled deeply more than I should. Pistachio aroma I enjoyed not but “full flavours” I most certainly did received, only short of queasiness, which would have been utterly embarassing. Getting high on pistachio paste, who would have guessed. *hic*
I was skeptical with the use of pistachio paste but it went very well with the raspberry component. It didnt astound me like Macaron Satine did, but still very contrasting flavours there which was quite enjoyable.
More pistachio paste related recipes to follow, Ladurée‘s Salambos à la Pistache perhaps 🙂