Mar 14, 2008

Show-and-tell : Mastica

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid back in lower school we had « show and tell » days where you would bring something preferably new and interesting to introduce to everyone in the class to develop public speaking skills. I remember that most of my show-and-tell items were food related… and now many years later I’m not surprised considering how passionate I am about food!
So a while back I had spoken about “mshalalé” cheese and “za’atar” and today I want to do a blog version show-and-tell on mastica (which is in the photo above). If you’re anywhere from Greece, Turkey or the Middle East you probably know what mastica is- a resin from the mastic tree with a distinct (and I should add fabulous) taste and smell. It’s very commonly used in desserts, especially cream/milk based ones and also is a popular chewing-gum flavour (anyone know the Mastic Chicklets??)
And so the other day I was wondering what to do, when in the kitchen I spotted a bunch of pistachios, almonds, a new pack of eggs…and mastica I had brought over from Greece. What did I end up doing with all of this? Pistachio-Mastica financiers. Financiers are delicious almond-based French pastries (they are sublime!) that can come flavoured with oranges, chocolates, etc. Well mine now have a Mediterranean influence, with a recipe I’m more then happy to share below!
Recipe for Pistachio-Mastica Financiers:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 60 g fine sugar
  • 10 g flour
  • 10 g fecule
  • 40 g ground powdered pistachios
  • 10 g ground powdered almonds
  • 25 butter
  • 1 well filled teaspoon of mastica
How to make it:
Preheat oven to 180C. In a bowl whisk the egg whites and gradually add the sugar (as if you were making a meringue). Then add the flour, fecule, powdered pistachios and almonds. Mix well. Follow with the melted butter and mastica, mix. Fill in your moulds with the batter and bake for 15 mins.
P.S: For decoration, I strongly recommend adding crushed pistachios, it looks prettier and you get an amazing crunch followed with a soft moist melt-in-your-mouth financier bite!
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Kate / Kajal said...

Mastica is a new one for me. I've tried the resin from some other tree, comes from Iran, and is also eaten as chewing gum.A friend brought some for me once , but this is absolutely new !!!
Nice to know.The financier looks amazing. !

Cenk said...

Yummm! I love the flavor of mastic, especially in ice cream. These financiers are very tempting. Very nice flavor combo!

Medena said...

Interesting, and new to me! I just saved it; it sounds like something for me! Great blog!

Lulu said...

This looks lovely. In fact all your recipes are intriguing, I can't wait to try them, starting here. I've just added you to my blogroll so that I can keep checking back.

linda said...

The financiers look delicious! I've had mastica on my shopping list for a while but up till now no luck in finding it. Sahlab is on it too...

Kevin said...

Those look really good. I have never seen pistachios that are go green. The mastica sounds pretty interesting.

Half Baked said...

Your financiers look gorgeous! I'm new to your blog and I love your photos, just beautiful!

Marianna said...

Kate- I'd love to know the name of the resin you tried! Thanks for your nice comment!

Cenk- I havent tried mastic ice cream yet!! Im such a loser! Thanks for stopping by :-)

Medena- thank you!

Lulu- thanks so much, your blog is full of delicious Greek recipes!

Linda- I hope you can get a hand on mastica too, sahlab is another great ingredient to have!

Kevin- thanks! My pistachios are maybe from outerspace :-)

Halfbaked- well thanks for your visit and your very nice comment!

Laurie Constantino said...

These are compellingly gorgeous. The lovely pictures make them jump off the page.

One comment though - mastica, mastiha, mastixa, however you spell it - comes from a shrub that is a member of the pistachio family, although is not the same species as the one from which we get pistachio nuts.

When I first started going to Greece, I was often served the white sweet that is in your photograph on a spoon in a glass of cold water, commonly referred to as a submarine. Eaten that way, it gives one a very intense sugar rush!

In your recipe, is the tsp. of mastica that you call for a tsp. of the sugary item you picture? Or is it 1 tsp. of crushed resin, which seems like too much. I'm confused (not for the first time..)

Marianna said...

Hi Laurie. Thanks for passing by. The tsp is the mastica in my photo. We also use the crushed resin, and I agree 1tsp would had been too much here! I usually use the crushed resin in milk-based puddings only.

Latifa said...

marianna, your financiers looks stuning!

hmmmm....the mistekah i buy from the supermarkets are white colored and your are green!...explanation please?

Marianna said...

Hi Latifa!Thanks for your comment! The mastica I used here had a creamy texture (it's the white cream with the spoon in the second photo). I also have the "crystal" shaped mastica at home. Maybe the green things you are talking about are the pistachios? I've personally never seen green mastica before!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me where to buy the Mastica and howto make it into the white "stuff" on the spoon. I am in the Okla City metro area or will buy on-line. Thank you.

Marianna said...

Anonymous > I don't live in the U.S, so unfortunately I don't know of any addresses to give you... but I'm pretty sure if you go to a M.Eastern/Greek/Turkish food speciality store you should be able to find something. They'll either sell it to you in paste form (like the one featured in this post) or in a crystal form that you'll have to dissolve. Hope you find something, but give it a try at an Oriental food shop. Good luck!

Marilyn said...

Thank you Marianna for telling me (Anonymous)where to go for the Mastica.

Natalie said...

Have you tried Orchid Ice Cream with Mastic? “Kaimaki” means “cream” and this ice cream has a double dose! It’s a classic preparation made with gum mastic and salepi

sayyad said...

Marianna -- I love your post and the photos. I'm not sure if I'm convinced that mastica comes from the pistachio tree. In fact, I know for sure that it doesn't. I would have liked to send a private e-mail but was unable to find the function. Let me know if I'm missing something.

Marianna said...

sayyad- you are right, its comes from the Pistacia tree!! thanks for dropping a note and for your comment :)