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A quick and easy salted pistachio brittle. Decorative with a great crunch - perfect for adding a finishing touch to desserts! Or an equally great way to just to use up some pistachio nuts in a fun new sweet nutty treat.
Do you love pistachios? I can still remember the first time I had them. I was sat in an airplane to Istanbul with a woman and her toddler next to me. She didn't speak English and I didn't know any Turkish, but she had a bag of pistachios and offered me some during the flight. Ever since, I've been hooked!
Now I look for any opportunity to add a few to a recipe!
Ingredients for Salted Pistachio Brittle
This pistachio brittle recipe has just three ingredients:
- Pistachios - roasted, salted pistachios. These should be shelled and roughly chopped. Alternatively, you can use unsalted pistachios in this recipe. I recommend the salted because this works well with the sweetness of the caramel that will form from the sugar.
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar will work in this recipe.
- Water - just a bit of cool tap water. This will help your sugar to dissolve and form the caramel for a thin crisp brittle.
Making Caramel for Pistachio Brittle
The key to any nut brittle is the caramelised sugar. To make this pistachio brittle without corn syrup, all you need is sugar and water to start.
Place these in a deep sided saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Increase the heat slightly as the mixture begins to boil and allow to boil for about 10 minutes watching for the syrup to begin turning a golden caramel colour.
Once the liquid is golden, it will begin darkening quickly. For this recipe, I'd recommend removing from the heat once the syrup is a nice even dark gold - before it starts to brown and get too dark.
At this stage, remove from the heat, add the nuts and stir to coat. Then immediately tip out onto a silicone baking mat and spread so that the nuts are more or less in a single layer. This will result in a nice thin brittle once hardened.
Uses for this Brittle Recipe
This pistachio brittle is a thin crisp brittle recipe. It is intended to add extra texture to a dessert or a decorative finish. Of course you can make this for a snack too! But, this brittle does not keep and should be made fresh for use.
The caramel is thin and glossy, but quickly impacted by humidity. If made too far in advance, you will find the edges become sticky and as the sugar melts down much like spun sugar nests.
Some ideas for using pistachio brittle:
- Add to a tart, like my decadent chocolate praline tart. You can replace the pecan praline brittle with pistachio and swap the pecan paste for pistachio paste to create a chocolate pistachio tart!
- Decorate a cake! This pistachio brittle would go well with my cardamom pistachio cake or even a classic thrifty pound cake.
- Top a panna cotta for a decorative finish.
FAQs for Pistachio Brittle
This brittle does not keep well. For best results, use this on the day it is made.
It will still be fine to consume for a few days, however, the caramel will become a bit weepy. It will start to melt at the edges and on the bottom due to the natural humidity in most kitchens.
I have been known to keep this brittle for up to four days (at room temperature, on parchment paper, covered but not air tight). It maintains a good crunch but is sticky to handle.
I would not recommend freezing this brittle. This is because the caramel is highly susceptible to any moisture and is unlikely to survive well, especially during the defrosting process.
Pistachio nuts are small enough that, strictly speaking, you don't have to chop them for mixing in to the brittle. Giving them a rough chop does give a bit diversity to the size of the nuts and the distribution in the caramel though, so I would still recommend a light bit of chopping just to break a few down at least!
Salted pistachio brittle is a bit like having salted caramel with pistachio nuts. Its got the bite of the salt but with the sweetness of the caramel. If you aren't a fan of salted caramel or salty sweet in general, you may prefer to use unsalted pistachios.
If you like this recipe, check out some other nut recipes:
- ¼ cup pistachios roasted salted pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
- Continue cooking the sugar for about 10 minutes as it begins to turn a light golden colour. Once it reaches a caramel shade, remove from the heat and add the chopped pistachios, stirring to coat the nuts.
- Pour the mixture out onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper over a heat proof tray, spreading with a spatula so that you have a small sheet of caramel coated nuts.
- Allow to cool until hardened and then break into chunks for serving.