Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Montebello

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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.
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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.

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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.


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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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*

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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 🙂


27 responses

  1. Your bakes are always awesome! Eh, why you never let me try when we are staying so near to each other huh! =P

    September 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      not awesome la aiyoh…. next time when we meet up lor, hopefully before your trip! 🙂

      September 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  2. im not a fan of green and pinks but the flavor combination sure sounds great! I had a pistachio financier with raspberries recently and the flavor was indeed lovely!

    September 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha the colour code of red and green does look shocking indeed, and I think that’s Pierre Herme’s exact intention. where did you try the pistachio and raspberry financier? curious indeed., 🙂

      September 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      • haha i made it myself ;p I modified one of PH’s financier recipes to suit the ingredients I had and the flavor combination was surprisingly good – the fresh raspberry provided an interesting gooeyness to the buttery financier!

        September 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        ah, i see i see.. Pierre Herme uses freezedried raspberries for his Madeleine Ispahan. Hopefully I’ll be able to lay my hands on some real soon! 🙂

        September 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  3. OMGssss…. Alan, if my son sees this he is going to pester me non stop!

    September 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha then he should love Pierre Herme 🙂

      September 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm

  4. Amazing Alan! The colors are amazingly brilliant. Is this macaron recipe featured in the recent macaron book from pierre herme?

    September 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yup, this is the recipe translated from the book “Macaron” by Pierre Herme. 🙂

      Rumour has it that it would be out in English this fall, but no where in sight as yet.

      September 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

  5. Another PH’s recipe!! Applaud you for trying out his stuffs as they are no where near “simple” both in preparation and execution. Great job Alan =)

    September 10, 2011 at 3:26 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Wilson! you are too kind. What I’d done is simple compared to what you’d conjured! That Christophe is really sumthin’! I’m sure C.A. would be proud 🙂

      September 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      • Hahaha what I’ve done to CA was simple too lol

        September 11, 2011 at 8:09 am

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        oh common! you jolly well know that what you’d created is far from being simple! LOL

        September 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

  6. hi, though i have yet to make any macarons, this sounds like an easier version among some of the macarons you made. the colours look like a christmas macaron, is that white choc you used for your pistachio ganache? btw, just saw the comments up there, the english version could be out already , i saw that just 2 days ago in Book depository, it’s a new publication so i suspected it’s the one that you were talking about..

    September 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hi lena, the filling is manageable. the shells were made the same way as the others. and yes! the colors are vibrant as what Pierre Herme had intended. 🙂 White chocolate is used in the pistachio ganache yes, and its commonly employed as a vector for many of his fillings.

      the book is due to be out in a week’s time. amazon is not pre-selling it, which leads me to suspect that the publication or shipping is delayed. I have the French one. looking forward to the English one. 🙂

      September 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

  7. Bake for a Queen

    I love it!

    September 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      OMG Nancy!!! where have you been!!! You have been MIA for months!!!!!

      September 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

  8. Bake for a Queen

    Hi Alan,

    Haha..yes due to some personal affairs, i was “away” for a longgg time. Will be back once everything’s been sort out. Also, i would like to let you know that your email is truly appreciated. Thanks Alan =) And again, I simply love the macarons. So vibrant!

    September 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      ah, i see i see. Hope all’s well with you. 🙂

      September 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm

  9. Alan, these are gorgeous! One question, though, I have always been curious about sandwiching the gel in between the macarons – won’t it melt and make the macaron soggy?

    September 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hi shirley! sandwiched gelee tends to give the macarons more moisture and thus do not require as long a time as those filled with only buttercream or ganache to “mature”. A few hours would do actually. And best consumed within the same day. The shell then to go soft the next day.

      September 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  10. Pingback: Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Mogador « travellingfoodies

  11. Pingback: Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan « travellingfoodies

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  14. Great blog, I also have the Pierre herme macaron `book and have made one of his macarons. I was wondering what brand of food colouring you use in your macarons.
    check out my blog aswell http://www.sosweetpatissier.blogspot.com.au/
    Thankyou Dean

    June 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

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