I think I have previously mentioned my poor record with baked goods. Cakes are the one exception to this, but I recently discovered that I can add biscuits to the list of things that I find quite stressful to make and that generally come out a bit meh. I was trying out this pistachio biscuit recipe by genius baker and former Masterchef finalist Hannah Miles. She describes it as 'quick and easy' (which I'm sure it was for her), whereas I ended up red in the face, with half the kitchen covered in flour and a sink full of washing up. Luckily the final product was quite nice (if a little too sweet for my liking), but I'm not sure it was worth all the stress. But as I still had lots of nuts leftover I thought I'd try and make something else with them.
For me pistachios are always associated with Indian flavours, although of course they appear in a variety of cuisines. But with that in mind, what could be more more Indian than a nice cup of masala chai? Well mine comes out of a tub, rather than the traditional saucepan method, but that makes it the perfect ingredient for baking with. The only downside was that I forgot that chai powder (or at least the Drink Me brand) already contains quite a bit of sugar, so I probably should have reduced the amount in the cake mix. Or perhaps added a plain cream cheese icing.
Recipe (enough for around a dozen)
110g caster sugar (this is the maximum I would use if you have a sweet tooth, otherwise reduce to around 90g)
110g self-raising flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tblsp chai powder (e.g. Drink me brand)
1 heaped tblsp finely chopped pistachio nuts
Cream together the butter and sugar, then add in the dry ingredients and eggs and beat well to combine. Or else just put everything in a food mixer and leave it to do its work for a few minutes. Spoon into cases in a tray and bake in the middle of an oven for around 20minutes at gas mark 4.
Cardamon is the strongest flavour in the chai powder, but you could easily just use this as a base and add other ground spices of your choice. The little green flecks of pistachio add a mild nutty taste, and the whole thing makes for a nice cake that doesn't actually need any further adornment.