Thursday, 7 February 2013

Pistachio Coffee Cake

Pistachios are one of my favourite nuts and I really should use them more than I do. Rich and buttery, yet slightly fruity they are an interesting alternative to the more traditional nuts used in baking. Here I've tried them in a gluten and dairy free coffee cake. I think they bounce off of the deep dark black coffee flavour in a delightfully unusual way and provide a texture so soft and moist that it barely fits the definition of a conventional cake at all. I've dusted the finished cake with icing sugar and please note that this is not merely for decoration. The sweet tickle to the tastebuds it administers is a vital contribution!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 40-45 Mins
100g Shelled Pistachio Nuts
125g Ground Almonds
180g Caster Sugar
1tsp Baking Powder
157ml Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs (Beaten)
3tbsp Strong Black Coffee (Cold)
Icing Sugar (To dust)

As far as I am aware it is not yet possible to purchase pistachio nuts ready ground, but for this small quantity it is straightforward to do this using a mini chopper or pestle and mortar. You want to try and grind the nuts as finely as you can, but don't worry if there are a few larger nuggets left.

Once the nuts are ground, that's the hard part done (and even that is easy). Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 21cm square baking tin and line it with baking paper. In a large bowl mix together the ground pistachios and almonds, along with the sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the middle, then tip in the oil and beaten eggs and mix to a smooth batter. Pour in the coffee and do the same, then tip into your prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. When you're happy it's cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Once the cake is cool, carefully remove it from the tin and peel off the baking paper. Finish by dusting all over liberally with icing sugar and you're all done!

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