Pistachio and Almond Loaf with Apricot Sauce

This loaf of ground nuts and citrus zest bound together with the lightest wine ‘soufflé’ is marvellously delicate – too delicate, even, to be sliced straight from the oven, though if you did want to serve it hot, you could pour it into individual moulds.

Hot, warm or cold, surround with a pool of plain apricot sauce, or a richer Peach Leaf Custard or, better still, both, and maybe some slices of fresh fruit – peaches or mangoes perhaps. The recipe comes from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food.

Ingredients

  • 50 g/2 oz pistachio nuts
  • 100 g/4 oz blanched almonds
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 75 g/3 oz caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dry or medium white wine
  • 3 eggs, separated

For the Apricot Sauce

  • 100 g/4 oz dried apricots
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 100 g/4 oz vanilla sugar

Method

Pour boiling water over the pistachios and leave for 30 seconds. Drain, skin, and leave to dry. Place the dry nuts in a processor or blender with the almonds and orange and lemon zests and whizz to a rough powder. Add the sugar, wine and egg yolks and whizz again until thick.

Whisk the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and fold into the nut mixture. Pour into a clingfilm-lined 900 g/2 lb loaf tin. Stand the tin in a roasting tin, filled with warm water to a depth of 2.5 cm/1 inch. Cook in a preheated oven, 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm. Leave to cool until tepid.

To make the sauce, put the apricots and lemon juice into a pan with 300 ml/½ pint cold water. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until tender. Process with the vanilla sugar in a processor or blender, and leave to cool.

Turn the loaf out on to a serving dish, peel off the clingfilm, and serve in thick slices with the sauce.

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