Do you ever have nights that you can’t fall asleep because something is on your mind? Well, for the past week and a half pistachios have been on mine which is why I simply had to make Pistachio Bread.
It started many weeks ago, when I was cooking for my friend’s graduation party and there were giant containers of pistachios being used for one of the dishes. Even though the pesto sauce that was being made was delicious, all I could think about was what I would do with pistachios. It was a safe bet that they would not be part of a main course.
Fast forward a few weeks later and I, finally, found the time to experiment. My first thought was to make some kind of a pound cake with a tube of pistachio cream cheese going through the middle. I eliminated that idea and opted to make pistachio bread instead.
Easy enough in theory. I mean, really now, how hard can it be to throw the ingredients together and have the end result work the first time around. Sounds good, but it just did not work out quite that way, which was why I spent nights thinking about pistachios.
I wanted the pistachios to be the focal point of the pistachio bread, so I quickly dismissed adding dried fruit. My biggest problem was getting the consistency I wanted. Do I work with sour cream or buttermilk? 350° or 325° oven? Bottom third rack in the oven or middle rack?
I actually tossed and turned for a few nights trying to work through the kinks of this recipe. As a general rule, I will give a recipe three tries before I give up. I realized how much I wanted pistachio bread when I kept going. Finally, on the fifth time around I got it right.
Thank goodness I have very good friends who tried the various stages. Some popped over and others were hunted down, as there really is no escaping once you commit to being one of my tasters. The overall consensus was that Pistachio Bread is flavorful and unusual, a fab combination in my book.
Tonight I shall happily put my head on my pillow knowing that, thanks to Pistachio Bread, the pistachio challenge is over. I do not know what my next baking obsession will be, but I look forward to conquering that one as well, hopefully with fewer restless nights.
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1¼ cups unsalted roasted shelled pistachios, divided
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- For the bread:
- Preheat oven to 325°. Brush the melted butter into a 9” x 5” loaf pan and set aside.
- Place the pistachios into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse on/off until the nuts are chopped finely. Some will be the consistency of powder. Set aside ¼ cup for the top of the bread.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Add one-half of the dry ingredients followed by the sour cream, scraping the bowl down in between additions. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
- Remove from the mixer and fold in 1 cup of pistachios. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup pistachios over the top of the batter. Gently push the nuts into the batter so they stick.
- Bake on the middle rack in a 325° oven for 60-65 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely in the pan.
- Use a small metal spatula to go around the edges of the pan. Invert the pan and the bread will pop out. Turn the bread right side up.
- Betsy's tidbit:
- If you want to sweeten up your Pistachio Bread, top it with a couple of scoops of pistachio ice cream and chopped pistachios.