“Get Crackin’” has become a familiar tagline in TV commercials for the wonderful pistachio – but this little nut is more than just a pop culture phenomenon. Listed as a super food, nuts, and pistachios in particular, have a wide range of health benefits to top off their delicious flavor. From heart-healthy fats to high protein content, pistachios are the perfect snack or as a lovely accent to many d’lish dishes!
Sprinkle pistachios over Greek yogurt with dried cherries for a nutritious treat. Mix them in with dark chocolate, mini pretzels and dried cranberries for an indulgent trail mix. Or use them to finish off my Roasted Beets with Orange Honey Vinaigrette and Pistachios for tasty texture.
One of my favorite recipes featuring pistachios is my Warm Orange & Pistachio Bittersweet Chocolate Cake. Baked right in little mason jars and topped with a pouf of orange cream, these mini cakes are so cute and perfect for weekend entertaining!
So get crackin’ on some new ways to enjoy this healthful and flavorful nut! -Kathy
Roasted Beets with Orange Honey Vinaigrette and Pistachios
You can prepare this recipe part way in advance: After roasting beets, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, drain beets again if necessary, and proceed with the recipe, sauteing beets in the syrupy vinaigrette until heated through.
Makes about 6 servings
6 large beets (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, undiluted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel beets and cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in a 9- x 13-inch baking pan, then cover pan with foil. Roast beets in preheated oven about 40 minutes, then remove foil and continue roasting about 15 – 20 minutes more until beets are tender. Remove beets from oven and drain off any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, in a saute pan, whisk together remaining olive oil, OJ concentrate, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper, and place over medium-high heat. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until syrupy. Add beets and saute to coat evenly.
Sprinkle nuts on top to garnish. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Warm Orange & Pistachio Bittersweet Chocolate Cakes “in a Jar” with Orange Cream
You can also make the cake batter up the day before, then just assemble in the jars, bake and serve warm! If baking ahead, you can chill down the baked cakes and just give a quick reheat in a hot oven or microwave to warm them.
Makes 6 cakes
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fine fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Mariner liqueur
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
Garnish: fine fresh orange zest
To make the cake batter: In a double boiler or medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the chocolate and butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate are just barely melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted.
In another bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, zest, flour, orange juice concentrate and liqueur. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture and the pistachios. Refrigerate batter for 2 hours or up to overnight.
To bake the cakes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Stir the batter to distribute the nuts. Divide the batter evenly, scooping 1/2 cup batter into each of 6 half-pint, wide-mouth canning jars (or you can substitute glass custard cups). Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake for about 22 to 28 minutes, or until the cakes are set but the centers are still very, very soft. (See chef’s note.) Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes and serve warm.
To make the orange cream: While the cakes are cooking, whisk the cream and powdered sugar together in a medium bowl until lightly peaking. Add the sour cream and orange juice concentrate. Whisk in until nicely peaking.
Top each cake with a dollop of cream and sprinkle with orange zest.
Chef’s note: Ovens differ, so bake the cakes for about 22 minutes for very soft center or 24 to 28 minutes for somewhat firmer centers. When removed from the oven, the centers of the cakes should still be gooey. If using cold batter from the refrigerator the cakes will take longer to cook.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®