good eats . pistachio paste for cheaters

I have a killer-delicious recipe that I'm going to share soon, but I had to do a lot of searching and contemplating before I whipped it up. 

Why, you ask? 

Because I decided that pistachio paste was the only way to get the recipe just right, and pistachio paste is either a bit too expensive of an ingredient (at least for a spur of the moment killer-delicious recipe) or kind of a you-know-what to make. And still expensive. Plus, it's way more impressive when you make things like pistachio paste all by yourself. 

This recipe is nowhere in the neighborhood of "authentic." It would make Pierre HermĂ©, the "Picasso of Pastry," cringe. It is, however, perfectly wonderful for making in your own kitchen with a normal pantry full of ingredients. 

*Pistachio paste is used to give a nice pistachio flavor to all sorts of sweets, like ice cream, macarons, pastries, custards, and baked goods!

Sometimes you can cheat your way to the perfect dessert!

  • .5 cup shelled raw pistachios
  • granulated sugar and water or corn syrup
  • almond butter

1.   Bring some water to a boil, and drop in your shelled pistachios. Boil them for two or three minutes, and then drop them into a colander. Run cold water over them. 

2.   You can now slip the skin off each pistachio to take away any bitter flavor and make the bright, happy green color really pop. Feel free to roast them in the oven for a few minutes to bring out the flavor, but it's fine to leave them as-is. 

3.   Drop the newly-naked pistachios into your food processor, and pulse until they're as finely-chopped as you can get them. Keep going a little longer than you think you need to, since you want to get a really nice pasty texture without a lot of coarse pieces. 

Pistachios have less oil than other nuts, so the texture of the ground pistachio alone will be a bit crumbly, especially if you don't grind them while they're still damp from boiling. That's totally fine. Your paste, at least at this point, should look a little something like the picture below:

4.   Make a batch of sugar syrup using this recipe, or you can just skip this step if you're using store-bought corn syrup.

5.   Drop a tablespoon of almond butter into the food processor, and pulse until it's mixed in. Now drizzle cooled sugar syrup or corn syrup into the food processor and pulse - just a little bit at a time. Only add enough syrup to get a good paste texture that holds together well. I probably only drizzled in about a tablespoon. 

Now ball up the pistachio paste, and you can just store it in the fridge for a week or two in a plastic bag or container. 


  1. I love pistachios but I'm embarrassed to say that I've never even heard of pistachio paste! What is it used for?

  2. Lime - Good question, and I've updated the post with an answer! Pistachio paste is the stuff bakers use to impart a delicious pistachio flavor into everything from ice cream to pastries. It blends in the pistachio flavor without really changing the texture of a recipe.

  3. This is so cool! I had some mango-rose-pistachio ice cream recently and wondered how they did it.

  4. agnese7/19/2012

    hi lindsay, i'm in love with the birds cloth which is in your pics! has it a label or sth?
    thanks! ;-)