Firstly, I apologise for disappearing for two whole weeks. I was buried by an avalanche of domestic and holiday admin but now I am back and rejuvenated. These next 6 weeks most people will be going through a metamorphosis from holiday overindulgence to teetotal, green-juice-loving, gym bunnies to guilt-laden cheaters transitioning back to their normal routine. I am already the proud member of a gym I only visit to take children to lessons and have a general distaste for extremes so I will not be joining the flow.
If anyone would like to join me, I have a delicately flavoured pistachio cake which I eat when I want to remember the Sicilian sunshine on my face and the taste of the sea. Pistachios grown in the volcanic earth in the tiny town of Bronte on Mount Etna are renowned for their intense flavour and bright green colour.
Pistachio butter is one of my favourite spreads to slather on toast or panettone. In the bakeries in Etna we tried croissants filled with pistachio butter, pistachio biscuits, pistachio marzipan sweets, pistachio semifreddi, pistachio creams, cannoli dipped in pistachios and pistachio cakes. The recipe below is for a delicate pistachio-flavoured sponge cake sandwiching pistachio cream.
Happy New Year! Wishing you a happy and healthy new year filled with love.
Torta di pistacchi (pistachio cake) – Sicilia
You can make twice as much pistachio cream and cover the entire top of the cake and sprinkle more ground pistachios over top.
200 grams butter, room temperature
240 grams icing sugar plus more for sprinkling
3 large eggs, room temperature
100 grams 00 flour
5 grams baking powder
110 grams ground pistachios
300 mls whipping cream
150 grams pistacchio butter (can grind 120 grams pistachios with 30 mls of cream or a nut oil)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a cake tin by greasing it with butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
Whip the butter with 200 grams of the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well before adding the next egg. Mix the flower and baking powder together. Add the flour mixture and incorporate well. Finally add 100 grams of the pistachios, combining well. Fill the cake tin with the pistachio mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the remaining 40 grams of icing sugar and the pistachio butter to combine.
Let the cake cool and cut in half horizontally. Use a board or cake lifter to take off the top layer of cake. Slather the pistachio cream on the bottom half. Add the top half of the cake back. Sprinkle icing sugar and the remaining 10 grams of ground pistachios over the top and serve.