Here’s Why Sweet, Green Pistachio Cream Has Replaced Nutella in My Kitchen

Use it on desserts, spread it on toast, or simply eat it right out of the jar like I do.

<p>Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon</p>

Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon

My love affair with sweet, nutty spreads began in high school when my foreign exchange partner from Perugia, Italy, brought me a bag full of gianduia products, including mini jars of Italian Nutella and a gilded jar of Caffarel gianduia spread. (I was particularly smitten with the Italian version of Nutella and joined the chorus proclaiming how much better it is than the American version—like one of those people who proselytize about the superiority of Mexican Coke.) And along with my passion for chocolate-hazelnut spread came the beginning of my ongoing hunt for the next sweet spread to give me that same satisfaction. I embraced speculoos and ube hayala, and even had a moment with chocolate tahini. Each makes a guest appearance in my cupboard from time to time, but none are lead characters. My latest love: pistachio cream.

What Is Pistachio Cream? And Where Do I Find It?

Pistachio cream is a sweet, green goo made from pistachios, sugar, and oils, all processed until spreadable. Don’t confuse pistachio cream with pistachio butter (aka pistachio paste), which—like other nut butters—is made by grinding nuts into a spread and is typically unsweetened. Pistachio cream is also different from pistachio pesto, which is salty and savory and is a nice alternative to basil pesto on pasta.

Pistachio cream can be used as a sweet breakfast spread, in desserts, and more (I’ll get into my favorite uses below). It's easy to use right out of the jar; sometimes, I eat it directly off a spoon if I'm craving something sweet and have nothing to spread it on. Much like your favorite nut butter, you can find this pistachio cream in creamy or crunchy varieties. Every brand is a little different, with varying ratios of pistachios, sugar, and oil. Some brands also have milk powder and additional flavor enhancers.

<p>Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon</p>

Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon

Most pistachio cream brands you’ll find in US stores are from Italy, and many of the most expensive jars are from Bronte, Sicily. Bronte pistachios, sometimes marketed as "green gold," have a reputation for being top quality. Growers take great pride in their pistachios and even have a Sagra del Pistacchio (Pistachio Festival), which happens every year in Bronte.

Despite the burgeoning popularity of pistachio cream—Google searches have increased for it in the United States and worldwide in the past year and I’m seeing it pop up in more recipes online—you may not be able to find pistachio cream on your local grocery store shelves. If you do, it will likely be near the Nutella or the nut butters. TikTokers have been obsessed with Pisti pistachio cream since its arrival at Costco warehouses in the UK and Canada. You may have better luck in the US at a specialty foods store or higher-end grocery store like Whole Foods. If all else fails, there are plenty of brands available on Amazon and online. I've tried several brands and especially enjoyed the crema di pistacchio from Marullo and Campo d'Oro pistachio butter. I have yet to try Giannetti Artisans’ pistachio spread or Pistacchiosa—both have rave reviews online but have a higher price point. I'll try them eventually, or when my current jar is empty, maybe I'll use Stella's pistachio paste recipe to make my own.

I Got It. I Love It. Now What?

If you've decided to purchase this glorious green spread, there are many ways to use it. Pistachio cream is wonderful spread or drizzled on carby things like waffles, pastries, or oatmeal. You can also simply whip it with heavy cream for a creamy pistachio topping. But don't stop there. Here are a few more suggestions for what to do with this delectable spread:

<p>Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon</p>

Serious Eats / Kelli Solomon

Glaze or Fill Doughnuts

After you've fried a batch of yeast-raised doughnuts, skip the glaze. Warm up pistachio cream on a small plate or bowl and dip the top of the doughnut in it. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, if desired.

Bake a Cake

Try adding a few ounces of pistachio cream to your store-bought cake mix to give it an extra boost. If you add more than ½ cup (120 ml) per box of cake mix, you may need to reduce the amount of oil or butter. If you're ambitious, try making this pistachio cake from scratch.

Whip Up Pistachio-Mascarpone Cream

Start by whipping ½ cup of mascarpone cheese and ½ cup of pistachio cream using an immersion blender, food processor, or hand mixer. Then, separately whip 3/4 cup of whipped cream. Combine these two by folding them together in a small bowl. Substitute this cream for whipped cream or frosting to top desserts, use it to fill homemade cannoli, or top your hot chocolate with it instead of marshmallows.

Flavor Your Coffee

Instead of going to Starbucks to get a cup of pistachio coffee, make it at home. Add 1-2 tablespoons of pistachio cream to your hot milk before frothing and adding to your coffee or espresso. Just be aware that the oil in the spread will affect the mouthfeel of your coffee, which you may or may not like. (Check out our adventures with olive oil coffee to learn how it might impact your brew.)

Make Homemade Ice Cream or Gelato

Try using pistachio cream instead of roasted pistachios in this homemade ice cream recipe (just cut back on the sugar a bit). If homemade ice cream is too ambitious, try using pistachio cream as an ice cream topping instead.

Make Pistachio Buns

If you're a pistachio lover, go all-in on these pistachio buns for your next weekend project. They use pistachios three ways—in the filling, the creamy topping, and fresh pistachios as a topping.

Read the original article on Serious Eats.