Pistachio & Almond Bars

Pistachio & Almond Bars AThis was not what I planned to make. I was intending to make a pistachio and almond battenberg but somewhere along the way my mind got warped and I split the mix wrong! Not to worry, as these are cute miniatures with all the looks but much more charm. I absolutely love the green tint of the sponge – all natural from the pistachios of course!

Pistachio & Almond Bars

Makes 8 bars

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Ingredients

  • for the sponge base
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 165g unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 45g ground almonds
  • 45g ground pistachios
  • 80g self-raising flour, sifted

for the buttercream

  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 20ml milk, at room temperature
  • 160g icing sugar, sifted

for the decoration

  • 600g white marzipan
  • coarsely chopped pistachios, to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4, grease a 17.5cm square tin and line with non-stick baking paper.

In a bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs with whisk until smooth. Beat in the melted butter and almond extract, followed by the ground almonds, ground pistachios and flour, mixing until smooth.

Transfer the mix to the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes until risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake is cool, make the frosting. Place the butter, milk and icing sugar in a bowl and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until combined then use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the mixture until it is smooth and light.

Place the cooled cake on a chopping board and trim the sides to remove the crust. Slice the cake into four even ‘fingers’ then trim the crust from the top and bottom of each. Trim any excess from the fingers to make the cross-section of each a perfect square.

Roll a quarter of the marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar into a 3mm thick square about 20x20cm. Place the square of marzipan top-side down on a sheet of non-stick baking paper (this will help with the next bit and stop the marzipan from sticking to the work surface) and cut one edge straight. Spread the marzipan with a thin layer of buttercream, and place one of the fingers on top, lining it up with the straight edge. Roll the finger up in the marzipan, carefully pressing along the sides to make sure the marzipan sticks, and cut neatly at the join. Smooth the edges of the marzipan and cut the finger in half. Repeat with the remaining three fingers.

Heat a metal skewer with a blowtorch (or gas hob) and use to sear a pattern on the top of each bar. Decorate with the chopped pistachios and serve with tea!

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