California Pistachio Treat with Chef Olivier Vincenot!

Pistachio the edible pale green seed comes from the evergreen tree which produces the pistachio, with small brownish-green flowers and oval reddish fruit.

Pistachios usually referred by me as ‘Pista’, is a much ignored dry fruit. We only snack on the nuts or give them as gifts during Festivals. It is added to dishes to give it a more traditional touch with its interesting small bits of green color and a crunchy texture.

I was invited to witness the Chef Olivier Vincenot, of France to dishing out out delectable desserts like Pistachio Cannoli, Ricotta Cheese and Pistachio, Pistachio Hummus using the California Pistachios in his live cooking demo at Foodhall, DLF Place, Saket, New Delhi on 8th August, 2015.

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The invite mentioned “With life on the fast track and sedentary lifestyle, health foods are playing an important role in keeping one energetic and healthy” but once the preparations began I could see good use of cream and sugar. Chef Oliver is an excellent pastry chef but there seemed to be a great disconnect as none of the recipes except the hummus can be recreated at home but the ingredients were such that nearly killed all the health benefit promised by Pistachios.

But if I see it with a different point of view, I have never seen the use of pistachios in such a way. I shall begin with a brief introduction about the chef Oliver, he is a biker, a painter yet his passion lies in baking.

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He is well aware of the different cuisines since he is globe trotter and has managed to make his way to the Indian palate. I asked him how does the Indian cuisine stands out ?…he looks at me and smiles and says that its so obvious that the Indian spices are the strongest he has ever come across. We both laugh on agreement.

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We start with the live demo a little late due to the rains it wasn’t easy to reach on time.

Another thing that troubled me was that there was no sitting area and we had to watch the 3 recipe’s demos for a very long time just standing.

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But once, as the recipe’s demo began I forgot about everything and leaned over the counter to witness the wonderful dishes that began to unfold.

First was the Pistachio Hummus,

Here is the prepped table with all the ingredients;

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The pistachios have been boiled for 3-4 minutes and then into cold water, this is done to ensure the preservation of its delicate flavor.

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Put everything in a blender and blend till smooth as per choice.

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As per Chef Oliver, its very important the quantities should be adjusted as per taste. This includes the consistency of the hummus, along with salt & pepper too.

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The Pistachio Blanc Mange: Its all about the infusion here, as per the chef.

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Pistachios are powdered and then blended in the milk, warmed up and set aside covered with a cling film. Also add sugar as per your choice of sweetness.

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Mixed gelatin powder with some cold milk is then added in gradually and this mixture is then strained to get a nice green color smooth liquid. After that, whipped cream is folded in and the mixture is kept in the freezer to set.

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Then after a few minutes the mixture is poured to set in, it takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes for the liquid to attain a certain mousse like consistency.

Here is a preview of the Blanc Mange, Pistachio Blanc Mange with a Indian bond style audio:  

Serve chilled with crushed pistachios on top.

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The Pistachio Cannoli: The most important aspect of this recipe is a waffle maker. If you don’t have it, you can’t make it. You also need to have a tube/fat pin to roll the cannoli in shape.

A batter in made primarily with dairy cream and vanilla. Powdered  cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar along with refined flour and corn flour are stirred in.

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Finally the waffle cone maker is warmed up and cannolis are made.

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Nicely done, golden brown and crisp cannolis.

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A little warning from Chef Oliver, you fingers get nearly get burnt here, so be careful. its important to roll it up till its warm or else it wont take the desired shape.

On the other side of the counter chef Oliver has combined ricotta cheese with pistachio nuts and pistachio powder for filling in the cannoli. And its a vision to behold.

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Never have I tasted pistachios in such a delectable way. This experience has made me realize the the real taste of pistachios. Amongst the three dishes, although each was completely different from the other, I found i liked the Pistachio Cannoli the best. It had my favorite combination of crispiness and sweet softness.

The Pistachio Hummus was second on my ‘Favorite List’, because pistachio flavour is very subtle and gets easily overpowered. But i like it due to its inventiveness. Who could have thought of using pistachios to make hummus.

The Pistachio Blanc Mange is last but it has good flavor of pistachio, it resembled mostly to our Indian ‘kheer’, a little too sweet for my palate. But all in all a very eye opening demo for pistachio lovers who can now do much more than just adding it as garnish or eating just a handful.

It was a pleasure to interact with the staff of Foodhall, representatives of American Pistachio Growers and Chef Oliver Vincenot.

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Venue:  Foodhall, DLF Place, Saket, New Delhi

XOXO

Shivangi

Review Credit – Deviyani Srivastava

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