Recipe: Spago Pistachio Macaroon Sandwiches

Seders at the legendary Beverly Hills restaurant, Spago, held to benefit Mazon, the international hunger relief organization, feature the fabulous riffs on Passover fare you would expect from its celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. This is Judy Kancigor’s tweak of a recipe created by Spago pastry chef, Sherry Yard. Judy writes: “While Yard uses almonds, I opt for pistachios for these yummy green sandwich cookies with their rich chocolate filling.”

Yield: about 20 macarons

Note: If you can’t find kosher-for-Passover cream of tartar, it may be omitted during Passover.


For the Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream or nondairy whipping cream

For the Cookie

  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Whites of 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 drops green food coloring


  1. Prepare the chocolate ganache filling: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stirring gently until melted and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the ganache is cool and thick but still spreadable, about 1 hour. (If made in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Let it sit at room temperature until it is spreadable but still cool.)
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare the cookies: Combine the cooled pistachios, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, if using, and beat until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition, until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes total. Add the almond extract and food coloring, and beat for 30 seconds more. The meringue will appear dark, but it will fade when baked.
  5. Stir about one-fourth of the meringue into the pistachio mixture until it is evenly moistened. Then add the remaining meringue in three additions, folding it in gently. Drop tablespoons of the mixture, 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a spoon to spread them out to form 1- to 1½ inch-wide rounds.
  6. Bake, one sheet at a time, on the center oven rack until the cookies are just firm to the touch and lightly browned at the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets set on wire racks. Then carefully remove them from the parchment. (If made in advance, the cookies can be stored in an airtight plastic container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
  7. Spread a scant tablespoon of the ganache filling over the flat sides of half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top, flat side down, pressing gently to form a sandwich.
  8. The cookies are best served the same day they are filled.

Recipe from Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family by Judy Bart Kancigor (Workman, 2007).