This is the cake that I make almost every week. Everyone loves it, because it is soft, lemony, nutty and moist. It goes very well with tea or coffee, or also served as a pudding after a supper party. Pistachio trees grow in the south of Italy, and they have beautiful pink and white blossoms. This cake reminds me of holidays by the sea, drinking chilled white wine by the shore and the smell of Mediterranean lemons in summer.
La Torta al Pistacchio – Pistachio cake
Serves 6 people
270 g. unsalted butter ( I use Rachel’s Farm or Yeo Valley organic butter)
1 unwaxed lemon
1 vanilla pod or vanilla bean paste (I use Taylor and Colledge)
100g. blanched almonds
120 g. pistachio nuts
250 g. caster sugar ( I use Billington’s unrefined cane sugar)
4 free range eggs
40 g. plain flour ( I use Alimonti 00 Italian flour)
For the topping
100 g. Pistacchio nuts
Icing sugar ( I use Billington’s unrefined icing sugar)
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Butter and line a loaf tin of 30 cm. by 9 cm and 8 cm. deep.
2. Soften the remaining butter, grate the lemon zest, scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod, beat the eggs till pale, finely grind the pistachio nuts and almonds in a food processor together.
3. Beat the butter and the sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, add the zest, vanilla seeds or vanilla paste, fold in the nuts and the flour.
4. Spoon the cake mix into the lined tin, spread it all flat, tap the tin on a surface to eliminate and gaps, place the tin on a baking tray. Position the tin in the centre of the oven, and bake for 1 hour, or slightly more.
5. Test the cake by pressing two fingers on its middle, and if the top “springs back” at you and feels firm, the cake is done. Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.
6. When completely cooled, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar, and sprinkle finely chopped pistachio nuts on the surface.