I realize I’ve written about nut butters twice in the last month and, here I am, posting about pistachio butter. I’m not quite sure where the fixation has come from. My only defense is that each butter is different and when I finish one, I want to try another. This time my recipe was inspired by a trip I took to Aegina, a Greek island famous for pistachio trees.
About a month ago my mother-in-law invited me to spend a day in Aegina with her, my sister-in-law and a friend. Aegina is about 30 minutes from Athens port by high-speed ferry so Athenians often go there for the weekend or a day-trip. It has good restaurants, windy streets, and several cool bars.
That day we needed to make a stop at Moni, a small island adjacent from Aegina. As we drove to the smaller port, Perdika, to catch our next ferry, I looked out the car widow at Aegina’s pistachio orchards. The low, pruned trees had been planted in rows, a cultivated forest on an otherwise arid island. The pistachio fruit, pinkish-green and hanging in bunches, looked full and lush.
Later in the day, when we returned to Aegin’s main port, a woman working at a pistachio kiosk offered us bites of sandy, salty pistachio brittle. It reminded me of peanut butter. Then I wondered, can you make pistachio butter from Aegina’s pistachios?
Turns out, you can. Out of all of the nut butters I’ve made this summer (about 5 batches), this was the easiest. While pistachio butter still requires a good bit of time in the food processor, it turns into butter more quickly than almonds. Perhaps because it has a thinner skin?
Spyros smeared pistachio butter on his toast this morning. I dropped teaspoons over hot muesli and banana. It’s emerald color brightened my typical breakfast porridge and added a rich, floral flavor. I was happy for having taken the trip and that Aegina produced such edible gems.
Homemade Pistachio Butter
2 cups shelled pistachios, unsalted (feel free to use salted, just omit the salt below)
3 pinches kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350oF (175oC). Spread pistachios on a clean towel and check for any shell bits or whole pistachios (I found a few!). Toast in an even layer on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time. Cool slightly.
- In a food processor (heavy-duty is best), pulse the pistachios, scrapping the sides of the blender, until a smooth paste forms. This could take anywhere between 20-30 minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. Add the salt and process to combine. Spoon the pistachio butter into a jar or plastic container and keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.