I once stayed in a very lovely B&B in Italy with a proprietor named Guiseppe, who lived up to every stereotype I could have imagined. He spoke mostly Italian. I speak mostly not Italian but am quite motivated by carbs and caffeine so we worked it out.
Me: Solo un caffè e via, per favore.
Guiseppe: No! Un cappuccino e una brioche!
Me: I do love the carbs. Sounds good.
Guiseppe: What kind of croissant?
Me: Vuota, per favore.
Me: How about you tell me what I want instead, Guiseppe. I think that might be easier.
Guiseppe: Perfetto! Sono l’esperto!
Me: Well, you are the Italian one in this situation.
Guiseppe: Si! Very Italiano!
The next morning I was gifted one gloriously perfect cappuccino and one gloriously perfect pistachio-filled croissant.
Me: Guiseppe! Those croissants….stupefacente!
Guiseppe: Si. I am Italiano one. Molto meglio.
Me: I’m not going to argue with you.
The morning after that, I was gifted TWO gloriously perfect pistachio-filled croissants (probably one was meant to save for a snack but I’m all about that instant gratification life) and a jar of the pistachio filling, which I proceeded to put on pretty much everything without regret. Except when I ran out – then there were many, many regrets. I’ve figured out how to make an American substitute but I’m not sure if it’s not the same because the ingredients here are different or because it was made by an American who measures nothing and not by Guiseppe (or probably more accurately, Guiseppe’s mother), the breakfast whisperer.
- 2 C whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 C pure cane granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
- 6 large egg yolks*
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 5 Tbsp pistachio paste**, more or less, depending on personal preference
- 2 1/2 C flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 C butter, room temperature
- 2 C pure cane granulated sugar
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 4 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 C sour cream, room temperature
- 1 C whole milk, room temperature
- 2 sticks butter, room temperature
- 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 C powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 C white chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
- heavy cream, as needed for consistency
- In a heat-proof bowl, whisk sugar, corn starch, egg yolks, and salt together until smooth. Set aside
- In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring milk and vanilla bean paste to a boil, stirring constantly.
- As soon as the milk starts to bubble, remove it from the heat.
- (You're going to be tempering the eggs, so if you know what you're doing, just do that.) Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. WHISKING CONSTANTLY! If you've made scrambled eggs, then scrap it and start over - pour the milk mixture more slowly, whisk more constantly.
- Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and return to med-high heat
- Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. You'll see bubbles break the surface - cool for another minute or so after you first see bubbles pop.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and pistachio paste until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface to prevent a film from building up.
- Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled - overnight is great. Mixture can be kept covered in the fridge for a few weeks, if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth
- Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Beat until well-combined, then add in the sour cream and beat well.
- Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.
- Slowly pour in the milk and stir just until combined
- Fill lined cupcake tin about 3/4 full.
- Bake at 350F for 15-18 mins or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Set aside to cool. Once cool, fill with pistachio creme and frost with white chocolate frosting.
- Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Beat in powdered sugar and salt until well-combined.
- Slowly pour in the melted white chocolate, beating constantly. Continue mixing until mixture is light and fluffy again. If it's too thick, add some heavy cream. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want.
- *You're going to use the whites for the cupcakes - see how handy that worked out?!
- **You can order pistachio paste online (or find in a specialty food store) or just make your own - I use this method: https://greenhealthycooking.com/pistachio-paste/