Pistachio Au Lait

Oh, Family Mart, what will I do without you? From the friendly greeting upon walking in, to the always delicious fare you offer (honest-to-goodness jammy eggs), not to mention NOT having to take out a loan for bread and milk, as is often the case at the American second cousin, twice removed. The Japanese shops, Family Mart and Lawson prides themselves with cleanliness, friendliness (“Irasshaimase!” (いらっしゃいませ!), meaning “Welcome to the store!”, is politely shouted at each family member customer that walks through the doors) and offering delicious and affordable food and beverage. Full hot meals from ramen to curry, small bites with the local favorite, onigiri 🍙 or possibly the best corn dog in the world! And the drink selection! (You will never go thirsty in Japan (Okinawa), with a little jingle in your pocket, ¥100 or less than a dollar, you can wet your whistle at any of the one or three vending machines found on literally every street corner and farmer’s field!) Coffees, smoothies, sodas, sports drinksyou name it, they’ve got it! * Which brings us back to the sinful subject of this entry: the Family Mart Pistachio Au Lait.

I first tasted this liquid delight during a weekend getaway with friends. We stopped for refreshments at the beloved Family Mart and our friend, Ken said, ” You’ve gotta try this pistachio au lait!” – so, back in I go. And now, 15 or 46 au laits later (really, who’s counting?!), I think I’ve figured out how to create this creamy delight! Good thing, too, as we now have less than two weeks left of our three year vacation assignment on island, courtesy of the USAF!

If you like pistachio – give this a try. Hey, even if you don’t, do yourself a favor and branch out today! You won’t be sorry!

Pistachio Au Lait

There are several elements that make this extra pistachio-y, and while you can choose to switch out, say the “pistachio milk” for half & half, why would you?

*pistachio milk

  • 1 c pistachio nuts
  • 2 c water
  • 1T raw sugar
  • 1T honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Place shelled nuts in bowl, cover with water, cover and let sit for 12-24 hours. Drain and discard water. Place nuts in a blender, add 1-2 cups water (depending on how strong you like your milk), sugar, honey and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Prepare a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth set over bowl or pitcher. Pour milk from blender into lined sieve, gently pressing all liquid from cheesecloth; squeeze every drop! You can discard the nut solids, or place then on a lined baking sheet, toss with additional raw sugar and dry out by toasting lightly to use as topping for your au lait (or ice cream!). Seal and store up to a week in the fridge.

*pistachio syrup

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 – 1 c pistachio, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients except for the vanilla in a medium saucepan;

Over medium heat, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer, ensuring all the sugar granular have dissolved, cooking 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain mixture through the same cheesecloth-lined method as above. Stir in extract. Once cooled, place in lidded jar and keep in the refrigerator up to 10 days.

The good stuff

Using your favorite home method, make your espresso with quality beans/coffee. Steam your pistachio milk, if using. Pour coffee and desired pistachio syrup (start with 1 T) into a cup or mug; pour your steamed milk over top, sprinkle with chopped pistachio or that brittle you made with the discarded chopped nuts. Sit back and enjoy! Let me know how you like it, or not – I’d love to hear from you! Peace, love and a good cup of whatever warms you 💛Ken, you’re welcome 😉

A small selection of Family Mart drinks

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