Humble, un-iced and simple in appearance, I love this recipe for its pure, unadulterated flavour. If you can source the expensive Iranian pistachios, use them to replace half of the regular nuts for the most brilliant colour loaf imaginable.
You may, like me, have to re-mortgage your house in order to do so; however, it really is a great shade of green…
MAKES: 1 x 900 g loaf or a 29 x 10 x 7 cm loaf
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURA EDWARDS, ASSISTED BY SAM HARRIS
STYLING: ROSIE RAMSDEN, JESS DENNISON ASSISTED BY KITTY COLES
250g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
125g pistachio nuts
100g ground almonds
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a loaf tin.
In the bowl of a free-standing mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lime zest and vanilla until pale and fluffy. I use the whisk attachment for this recipe in order to get plenty of air into the mixture.
In the bowl of a food processor, blitz the pistachio nuts until they are fine and resemble the same consistency as the ground almonds. Remove from the processor and add to the creamed sugar mix along with the eggs, almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined and you have a pale and light batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, then place in the oven and bake for 50–60 minutes, or until the sponge feels firm to the touch and a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
Allow the loaf to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool down fully. We like to serve this plain with only a little icing (confectioner’s) sugar, or with fresh figs and natural yoghurt.
Flora’s bakery Aran in the little town of Dunkeld is reason enough to make the trip up to Scotland. But for the times that you can’t quite get there, her cookbook will give you your fix. Published by Hardie Grant (£22) with beautiful photography © Laura Edwards.