Lucky Charms Churros & Real Pistachio Pudding

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and I’m part of a virtual St. Patrick’s Day Party! If there was one word to describe the holiday for me, it would be: green. When it comes to desserts there aren’t many green colored options, and I decided to do something with pistachios. I’ve made pistachio flavored cupcakes before but I used jello pudding mix which gave it an artificial taste. I’m not knocking on pistachio pudding mix; I’ve actually grown to like that artificial pistachio flavor. Much like how I’ve grown to love maraschino cherries.
The pistachio flavor of the pudding isn’t assertive. If I had to describe the flavor, I would say it’s very similar to the Häagen-Dazs pistachio ice cream only in pudding form, especially once it’s topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s dreamy and luscious, and pale green in color.
And because I wanted to add lucky charms into the whole thing, I made some lucky charms churros. Funny thing is they look entirely different from now I imagined them. I wanted them to have lots of marshmallows and cereal pieces stuck on them. Unfortunately, when I did put whole pieces of the cereal onto the churros, they looked chunky and unappealing. So I crushed them and stuck them on there, similar to sprinkles. A little more whimsical, but it doesn’t really scream “lucky charms”. Oh well.
The churros btw, are delicious. They’re crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Don’t get scared and take them out of the oil too early or you’ll end up with doughy insides. Now excuse me while I oogle at these awesome dishes that everyone else contributed to our party… You’re of course, welcome and encouraged to check them out too. 😉

Baileys Chocolate Caramel Tarts Sugarhero
Bangers and Mash with Guiness Onion GravyThe Beach House Kitchen
Black Lentil Roasted Broccoli Shepard’s Pie – Calizona
Boozy Irish Coffee Milkshake with Baileys Caramel DrizzleMeg is Well
Chocolate Stout No-Churn Ice Cream with Homemade Toffee CrumbleCiao Chow Bambina
Colcannon Irish Mashed PotatoesKeviniscooking
Get Charmed By Double Spice Chocolate CookiesThe Sweet Nerd
Guinness Irish Stew Mini Pot PiesThe Road to Honey
Irish Spice BagSeasons & Suppers
Pork Chops with an Irish Whiskey SauceSalt & Lavender
Raspberry Chocolate Milk Porter Pudding ShootersBeer Girl Cooks
Shepherd’s Pie {with Guinness Lamb & Horseradish Mash}Girl Heart Food
Sour Apple Tequila Cocktail – The Lucky Shamrock – No Spoon Necessary
St. Patrick’s Lemon Cucumber Martini With Fresh BasilBeyond Mere Sustenance
Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Orange ButterWhat Should I Make For…
Vegan Mint Chocolate BarkSalted Plains

Lucky Charms Churros & Real Pistachio Pudding

For the Pistachio Paste

Ingredients:
½ c salted pistachios, shelled
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. water

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse pistachios until finely ground.
  2. Add sugar and water and continue to blend until smooth.

For the Pistachio Pudding
Makes about 4 ramekins

Ingredients:
1 batch pistachio paste (recipe above)
2 c. whole milk
2 egg yolks
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
a handful pistachios, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, whisk pistachio paste and milk together and heat until simmering.
  2. While the pistachio milk comes to a simmer, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl to form a smooth paste.
  3. Slowly whisk in the hot pistachio milk by the ladleful into the egg mixture until you use up half of the pistachio milk.
  4. Add the rest of the egg mixture back into the pot and whisk on medium heat until pudding is thickened.
  5. Remove pot from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. Spoon pudding into ramekins, and wrap with plastic wrap and push the plastic onto the surface so it doesn’t form a skin.
  7. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  8. Before serving, whip heavy cream and powdered sugar together until stiff peaks form, place a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with chopped pistachios.

For the Lucky Charms Churros

For the churros

Ingredients:
½ c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 c. water
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 qt. vegetable oil (for frying)
vanilla glaze (recipe below)
about 1 cup of crushed lucky charms cereal (with mostly marshmallows; less cereal)

Instructions:

  1. In a shallow bowl, combine ½ c. sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk water, sugar, 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, and salt together and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the mixture is boiling, turn off the heat, add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough forms.
  4. In a large heavy pot clipped with a candy thermometer, heat the vegetable oil until 375 degrees.
  5. While the oil heats, transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. The dough is dense and tough to push through the piping bag so use a heavy-duty bag.
  6. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, pipe the length of the churros you would like and cut it off with either a sharp knife or scissors until you use up the dough.
  7. Once the oil is heated, slowly place the churro dough into the hot oil. Do not drop the dough into the oil for it will splatter. Place about 3-4 pieces and fry until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
  8. Lightly shake off the excess oil, and place the cooked churros onto a plate lined with paper towels.
  9. Drain churros for two minutes and then toss in the cinnamon sugar.
  10. Repeat with the remaining churro dough.
  11. Once the churros are cool, drizzle the top half of the churros with the vanilla glaze and dip into the crushed marshmallows.

Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients:
1 c. powdered sugar
1 ½ tbsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Whisk all three ingredients until smooth.
  2. Let stand for a few minutes to thicken.

Recipe for the pudding adapted from Joy the Baker.
Recipe for churros adapted from Just a Taste.
Recipe for glaze adapted from Taste of Home.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Macarons

Okinawan Sweet Potato MacaronsThere isn’t much that I remember about living in Seoul, South Korea as a little girl. But one memory that lingers after all these years is how the streets were perfumed with the scent of roasted sweet potatoes in the winter. I don’t know how it is now, but back then the streets were filled with carts that sold perfectly roasted sweet potatoes. Roasted Korean sweet potatoes are very different from their American counterpart. They are insanely sweet and the flavor is chestnut-like. And unlike American sweet potatoes, they don’t get watery. Instead, they are more fibrous and hold their shape when peeled. For many years, I’ve tried to recapture that memory by roasting Korean sweet potatoes in my oven. The smell was spot on, but I couldn’t get that same roasted taste that I remembered.
Okinawan Sweet Potato MacaronsThere is a Korean market that I stop by for snacks when I’m at my local Laundromat. If you stop by in the colder months, there is a small machine that churns out roasted sweet potatoes and the whole store smells has that warm roasty toasty smell. Anyways, after having one that was properly roasted, I became obsessed with trying to recreate it at home and scoured the internet on how to do it. I finally came upon a blog that featured this pot and after finding it in a Korean supermarket (It’s so much cheaper. I got it for less than $20 because it was on sale), I gave it a try and I finally reached sweet potato nirvana. Tip: The instructions say to roast on medium heat for 20-30 minutes but I found that roasting for about an hour on low heat produces the best results.
Okinawan Sweet Potato MacaronsArmed with my new roasting pot, I wanted to feature sweet potatoes differently and made these macarons. Purple sweet potatoes are just as sweet but not as flavorful as their yellow cousins. However, I couldn’t resist their beautiful purple flesh. I suppose I could’ve made the frosting a vibrant purple by adding a little food dye, but I wanted you to be able to see what it would look like without it. The best part about the frosting is that it takes just one stick of butter and about ¾ cup of powdered sugar (which just might be perfect for filling cakes for babies since you are using minimal sugar).
Okinawan Sweet Potato MacaronsCan you tell that I originally made these for Valentine’s Day? The purple ombre effect is easy to achieve by using an edible food color spray can. They’re easy enough to find on amazon. You want to be careful to be light handed or you will end up spraying the entire macaron purple. This is especially true if your spray can is new. There are so many options out there, I feel like you have a rainbow at your fingertips and it’s an easy way to spruce up a plain macaron.
Okinawan Sweet Potato MacaronsEven if you don’t decorate it, they’re definitely worth giving a try and best eaten within two days. Since the frosting has low butter/sugar content, it will turn your macarons soggy as the days go by.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Macarons

For the macaron shells:

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
purple edible spray paint
heart sprinkles
white pearl sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  8. Mix ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture twice until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. Fill batter in a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two. Sprinkle the top of the macaron batter with the pearl and heart sprinkles. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  12. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 300˚F. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macarons are done when you slightly wiggle them and they start to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  13. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 300˚F.
  14. Once the shells are cool, spray one side of the macarons lightly about 7 inches away from the surface. Fill with frosting.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Frosting

Ingredients:
1 ½ lb Okinawan sweet potatoes, roasted (about 3 medium potatoes)
4 oz. (one stick) unsalted butter
¾ – 1 c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Peel the outer skin of the sweet potatoes and put them the food processor.
  2. Puree the sweet potatoes until very smooth and silky. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in ¾ c. of the powdered sugar and the sweet potato puree and whip until a smooth frosting forms. If not sweet enough, add the remaining ¼ c. powdered sugar and whip until smooth. Fill the macarons.