Oh, summer. Having lamented only a few weeks ago that it seemed somewhat elusive this year, I feel like I finally have it in my grasp.
A bit of warm weather, some killer humidity and even a couple of hours of sunshine (mainly interspersed with massive thunderstorms but I take what I can get) seem to have done it. We’re at the stage of being able to count down the days (12!) to our annual trip to my parents’ house in France. Between now and then, I’m in New York again for work and plan to spend as much time as possible eating ice cream and wondering through Central Park, pretending to be a tourist (within the confines, obviously, of being stuck in an air conditioned office for 12 hours a day).
To say that I’ve fallen head over heels for strawberries this year sounds a bit ridiculous but it’s absolutely true. Sure, I’ve always liked them but this year it feels like my kitchen is bereft if I don’t have a punnet or two in stock. I have them with pancakes, with ice cream (NB recipe for the brown sugar frozen yoghurt coming soon) or just with my morning yoghurt and granola. When they start to look past their best, I drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and roast them, eating the sweet and sticky strawberries like they are candy (or turning them into margaritas).
The combination of juicy strawberries and nutty pistachios works so well in this cake, adapted from a Saveur recipe that I stumbled across a while ago. The recipe calls itself a bread but it is, to my mind, much further towards a cake on the spectrum. It’s sweet and yielding with a buttery (although there is no butter in the recipe) green-tinged sponge and rivers of fresh fruit running through it. A few extra strawberries and pistachios on top before baking give a little texture and crunch with more to serve alongside it. It’s good summer eating.
Although this recipe calls itself a bread, I think it's way more on the cake spectrum. It's definitely sweet enough to enjoy as is or with a splash of cream/ice cream. Because of the ground pistachios and fresh strawberries, it stays fairly squidgy in the middle; you can add a touch more flour if you think that will be an issue for you.
- 1 cup (125g) rice flour
- 50g (1/2 cup) ground pistachios
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (180g) soft brown sugar
- 150ml (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 200g (2 cups) chopped strawberries
- A handful of roughly chopped pistachios, for scattering on top
- Heat the oven to 350F/180C and line a loaf tine with greaseproof paper.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir together until just combined. Finally, fold in most of the strawberries, reserving a few to scatter on top.
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and top with the remaining strawberries and some chopped pistachios. Bake for about an hour or so until firm, risen and golden brown. Leave to cool for a while in the tin before serving.
Adapted from Saveur's Strawberry Loaf Bread