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Take plain store-bought croissants and transform them into a completely different pastry with homemade pistachio cream filling. You'll be amazed at how incredible these pistachio croissants are!
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What makes this recipe special
Most people have one or two foods they can never resist. I can easily list at least ten, one of them being croissants. Every time I visit Costco, I have to pull myself away from the cases of croissants staring at me. Fresh croissants are the best, but when you toast one of those Costco bad boys, they can be quite delicious.
Well today, I decided to give in only because I wanted to elevate these store-bought pastries. I've tried almond and hazelnut croissants before but how about pistachio croissants? Pistachio cream filling piped into croissants, baked to perfection, and topped with powdered sugar - sounds like a recipe for success, no?
- Milk: You can use whole, nonfat, or 2% milk although whole milk is the preferred choice. Whole milk has a higher fat content which will yield a richer and creamier pastry cream.
- Egg: Eggs in the custard help thicken it while also adding richness and creaminess. It also helps stabilize the cream filling.
- Cornstarch: Used as a thickening agent for the custard filling.
- Croissants: Although you can use high-quality croissants, they are not necessary. The pistachio cream elevates any regular croissant so you can save money and go for the store-bought version!
- Pistachio: The rich nut with a slightly sweet undertone has a very distinct taste with hints of buttery and floral notes. Use toasted shelled pistachios for the filling which have a more pronounced flavor than raw pistachios.
How to Make Pistachio Croissants
Step 1: Cook custard
Custard is one of my all-time favorite fillings for almost all desserts. For this recipe, I decided to combine classic pastry cream with pistachios to create one delicious filling.
Start by preparing the pastry cream. You can also prepare the pastry cream the day before to give it enough time to cool. Mastering how to make pastry cream can be one of the handiest tools when it comes to baking. I can still remember my pastry chef yelling, "Whisk! Whisk! No lumps!" as we stood over our egg and milk mixture. Once the cream is ready, cover it with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent skin from forming.
Step 2: Make pistachio filling
Next, it's time to prepare the pistachios. Use a food processor and chop the nuts with powdered sugar and cornstarch. The texture will look like crumbly sand when it is ready. If you have a powerful blender like a Vitamix, this device will also work.
Mix the pistachio mix with butter, egg, and pastry cream. Go ahead, dip your finger right into that filling. Tasty, am I right? It was at this moment that I knew that this dessert was going to be a winner.
Step 3: Fill and Bake
Transfer the pistachio cream into a pastry bag and pipe it into the croissants. Spread extra filling on top and finish with a sprinkle of toasted chopped pistachios on top. It'll seem like a lot of filling but don't worry, it'll be delicious.
If you're using regular-size croissants, you should be able to fill 6 easily.
The croissants already look so tempting, always a good sign!
Finish the pastries by baking them in the oven at 375 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. I know it may seem strange that we're baking already-cooked croissants, but there's raw egg in the filling so it has to be cooked. Also, the filling and topping will prevent the croissants from drying out so they'll still be crispy and buttery.
Finish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and get ready to devour these pistachio croissants.
After they have baked, the filling inside melts and spreads into all the flaky layers. These pastries were the perfect amount of sweet with just the right amount of pistachio flavor. Now try this recipe with almonds, hazelnuts, or even cashews!
Frequently asked questions
While pistachios provide a unique flavor and color, you can substitute other nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts if preferred.
Since the pistachio filling has a raw egg, I would wait to prepare it until you are ready to bake the croissants. However, you can make the pastry cream the night before.
The croissants are best enjoyed on the day they are baked when they are at their freshest. If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two.
More pistachio recipes
Looking for more dishes featuring pistachios? Try these:
- 2 cups milk (500 ml)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup cornstarch (30 grams)
- ½ cup white granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 tablespoons butter (28 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup pistachios, shelled, toasted, divided (170 grams)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (130 grams)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened (28 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 12 petite croissants
- powdered sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare pastry cream. Heat milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat just until warm. Whisk together egg yolks, egg, cornstarch, and sugar. Slowly pour warm milk into eggs, whisking constantly to prevent eggs from scrambling. Pour mixture back into saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Continue to cook until thick, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Transfer to clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface. Let cool.
- Prepare pistachio filling. Process 1 cup pistachios with powdered sugar and cornstarch in a food processor until mixture resembles fine sand. Mix pistachio mixture with 2 tablespoons softened butter, egg, and pastry cream. Transfer filling to a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag with one corner cut to make an opening.
- Cut croissants in half and pipe filling inside. Spread remaining filling on top, using a spatula to evenly spread the filling. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve warm or at room temperature.