Pistachios are often used in both the sweet and savoury kitchen. When I think back to the wonderful dishes we made at my workplace that included pistachios as an ingredient, it occurs to me that they were typically very special dishes reserved for VIP events.
It is little wonder – they are expensive little nuts. Perhaps one of the reasons why they are ‘trop cher’ (too expensive for everyday use) is that it takes so many years (8 to 10 years) before the medium-sized deciduous tree produces its first major crop. (That reminds me of the cork trees in Portugal where the bark is harvested every nine years – an interesting fact.) So that aside, the uniquely similar properties of the pistachio nut is what inspired me to make a special appetizer dish that would feature them at their finest. A savoury bite like Pistachio Chicken Pastry Puffs seems apropos to this very pretty and tasty nut.
NOTE: I had one nut-free guest when I was making these appetizers, so this needed special and careful attention. If this happens to you, this is how you go about it:
Ensure there are no nuts anywhere near your work surface. Prepare the filling up to Step 7 in the Method. Cover and refrigerate separately until required. Assemble using one of the long puff pastry strips by following the Assembly Method below up until Step 10. Chill until the pastry firms up. Brush the pastry with fresh egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Cut into 1 1/2″ pieces and bake as directed below. Keep the nut-free pastry separate from the rest of the pastry puffs. (I prepare and bake this tray first). Once they are cool, place on a separate presentation dish and cover with plastic wrap and label them nut-free. Then, add the 1/4 cup chopped pistachios to the remainder of the filling and proceed following the directions below for the rest of the pastries.
Baked Pastries: The pastries are best eaten the day that they are baked. The baked pastries freeze well and just need a reheat from frozen state in a 325oF oven.
Unbaked Pastries: Freeze the logs without cutting them into pieces. Omit the egg wash and pistachio garnish. Freeze them in a sealed bag or container for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake them, brush the frozen pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Cut into 1 1/2 – 2″ pieces. Bake the pastries until golden.
DIAGONAL CUTS: There is another baking option to try: bake the entire pastry log (after brushing with egg wash and sprinkling with pistachios) without cutting. It still takes the same amount of time to bake (15 – 20 minutes) or until golden brown. Cool the log slightly. Try cutting the pieces on a diagonal and stand the pieces upright on the display platter. It is a really cool effect. This is how I do it: for each 12″ log, cut in half at 6″, then in half again so that the pieces are now 3″ each for two-bite appetizers or 2″ for smaller bites. Now, cut each of the smaller pieces on a diagonal with enough of an angle (see photo below) so that the piece can stand upright on the display platter.
In summary, pistachios are awesome. Did you know that this fine nut offers a bounty of health benefits and goodness: they provide good sources of protein, fats, and minerals; Vitamin E, B Complex vitamins, and antioxidant properties. They are uniquely different and deserve recognition.
I love using pistachios in both the sweet and savoury kitchen. I will save the elusive unsalted pistachio nuts for the very special Individual Milk Chocolate Cheesecakes with a Chocolate Pistachio Crust and a single perfect pistachio garnish. (We actually blanched the pistachios and removed the thin skin so that each pistachio was a vivid green on top of the milk chocolate cheesecake – quite pretty).
Make pistachios part of that ‘special items treasure box’ in your pantry so that you can use them for something remarkable and outstanding – they are that special. Or, simply eat them out of hand – indulge in the slightly sweet, nutty taste of these exceptional nuts.
“Pistachio nuts – they cure any problem”
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If you give this recipe for Pistachio Chicken Pastry Puffs a try, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. You can find me on social media – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I’m sure to see it. Enjoy!
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