Pistachio Pavés (pah VAY)

The special buttery and mildly exotic flavor of pistachio nuts is usually lost in a cookie, but these crescents are an exception because the dough is rolled in chopped pistachios. The pavés are literally paved with the lovely green nut. The pistachio lover will be yours for life if you make these cookies! And they are a good option for those who haven’t the time or inclination to make a celebration cake for Mother’s Day.

Preheat the oven to: 375°F.
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
KEEPS: 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature or several months frozen.
volume ounces grams
shelled unsalted pistachio nuts,* divided cups 9.25 ounces 262 grams
sugar ¾ cup 5.25 ounces 150 grams
unsalted butter, cut into pieces 2 cups 8 ounces 227 grams
1 large egg 3 tablespoons 1.75 ounces      50 grams

(weighed without shell)

pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
bleached all-purpose flour cups (dip and sweep method) 8.75 ounces 248 grams
salt a pinch
OPTIONAL: green liquid food color 6 drops

*Unsalted pistachio nuts are available from Keenan Farms, Inc., P.O. Box 248, Avenal, California (209-386-9516). Roasted unsalted cashew nut pieces may be substituted for the pistachio nuts; omit the green food color.


At least 15 minutes before baking, place two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add ¾ cup (4 ounces/114 grams) of the pistachios and simmer for 1 minute. Drain and slip off the skins by squeezing the pistachios between your thumb and forefinger. Dry the nuts with paper towels.

Food Processor Method

In a food processor with the metal blade, process the ¾ cup peeled pistachios and the sugar until the nuts are ground powder fine. With the motor running, add the butter. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt and pulse in just until blended. Pulse in the optional food color.

Electric Mixer Method

Soften the butter. Grate the ¾ cup (4 ounces/114 grams) peeled pistachios powder fine. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the grated nuts, then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended. On low speed, gradually add the flour and salt and mix until incorporated.

Both Methods

Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.

Chop the remaining 1 cup pistachios medium-fine and spread them on a smooth countertop.

Working with ¼ cup of the dough at a time, and leaving the rest refrigerated, measure out level tablespoons of dough. Roll each tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a little log. When the dough starts to soften and get sticky, transfer the log to the nut-lined counter and continue rolling on the nuts until the log is 3 inches long and encrusted with nuts. Don’t be alarmed that the dough is sticky; this enables it to pick up more nuts. Return the dough to the refrigerator if it softens too much for rolling.

Place the logs of dough, curving them slightly into crescent shape, at least 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. For the best shape, refrigerate for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops just begin to brown and the bottoms, when lifted, are brown. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period.

Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for a few minutes. Use a small, angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.