Eat Paste!

No — we don’t mean paste as in glue!

Nut butter or paste is a spreadable food made by grinding nuts until their natural oils are released. They have a high natural fat content but it is a fat that is actually good for you.

Nut pastes or nut butters are becoming increasingly popular among both professional and home bakers. Nut butters are naturally gluten-free, trans fat-free and low in carbohydrates. They add a buttery mouth-feel to baked goods and work as a thickener. In general, tree nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat, linolenic acid and beneficial omega 3 oils and they are usually free of preservatives and artificial colors.

Deeply roasted nut butter adds a rich flavor and can help compensate for the bland taste of some gluten-free blends. Nut butters work especially well to add flavor in brownies, bar cookies and sugar cookies, both gluten-free and traditional. Nut butters are also widely used in energy bars to bind the ingredients while adding protein.

Pistachio paste, in particular, has been gaining a following once consumers taste baked goods that contain this pretty green ingredient. We like both the flavor and color it imparts to cookies, meringues and mousses. Our friend, Chef Efrat Libfroind, introduced numerous recipes using pistachio paste during her last visit to the U.S. when she taught culinary classes. The students were excited by this new taste sensation and we have made it available to the home baker.

Try some of our new recipes using our pistachio paste:

This pretty, green pie makes one 9- to 10-inch delicious dessert.

Frozen Pistachio Ice Cream Pie

For the pie crust:

12–14 chocolate graham crackers

3 tablespoons margarine, softened

3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

2 eggs

6 yolks

1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup pistachio paste

2 cups whipped topping, defrosted

Bittersweet chocolate for garnish

Chopped pistachios for garnish

Process graham crackers in the food processor with the margarine and sugar until finely ground. Press into a 9-inch pie plate or springform pan and refrigerate.

Beat together the eggs, yolks and confectioners’ sugar in a heat-proof large bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook the mixture, stirring with a whisk until the eggs are slightly thickened.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place on your countertop. Stir in the pistachio paste, which will help cool the mixture.

Beat the topping until stiff. Fold it into the cooled pistachio mixture. Pour or pipe mixture into the prepared pie shell. Top with chopped pistachios and chocolate curls, then cover loosely and freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm.

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These crumbly cookies melt in your mouth as you enjoy them!

Pistachio Butterballs

2 sticks (8 ounces) margarine, softened

1/2 cup pistachio nut paste

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup chopped, toasted, and salted pistachios

Powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment or silpat pan liners.

Cream the margarine, pistachio paste and sugar in your electric mixer. Blend in the vanilla and water.

Mix in the flour and baking powder until the dough is smooth and stiff. Blend in the nuts.

Use a medium cookie scoop to portion dough into 4 dozen 1-inch cookies. Dampen your hands and roll cookies into balls. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 18–25 minutes, until a light golden brown.

When cool, roll in powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container for up to three weeks. If the confectioners’ sugar dissolves into the cookies you can roll them again in powdered sugar before serving.