September 14, 2013

Marbled Chocolate-Pistachio Loaf

This recipe is for a lovely cakey loaf, which is sweet, moist and very visually pleasing.  It does take quite a while to make since you have to make the two different batters using different techniques, but it's definitely worth it!  I found that the finished loaf lacks a strong pistachio flavour, but the pistachio batter takes on a honey flavour that contrasts beautifully with the chocolate.  The pistachios sprinkled over the top get lovely and toasted in the oven, adding a fragrant crunch to top everything all off!

Recipe adapted from: Chocolat: The Chocolate Bible by Le Cordon Bleu
Ingredients - chocolate batter (11 x 21 cm (4 x 8 inch) loaf)
60g butter
3 eggs
210g caster sugar
90mL cream
A pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
135g flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

Ingredients - pistachio batter
60g butter
1 tbsp water
200g caster sugar
1 tsp honey
35g pistachios
3 eggs
90mL cream
A pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
165g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Additional pistachios for garnishing

1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (320 F) and line a loaf pan with baking paper.

Make the chocolate batter.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave and set it aside to cool.

3. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy.  I used a handheld mixer.

4. Gently beat in the cream, melted butter and salt.

5.  Sift the cocoa powder then fold it into the batter along with the flour and baking powder.  Set the chocolate mixture aside.

Make the pistachio batter.
6. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.

7. Heat the water, 20g of sugar and the honey in a small saucepan.  I used a tiny one-egg size frying pan.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

8. In a blender, blitz the pistachios until they're a fine powder.  My food processor wasn't awesome enough for this, so I ended up with finely chopped pistachios.

9. Pour the honey mixture into the blender and whiz until a paste is formed.

10. Combine the eggs, remaining sugar (180g) and pistachio paste.  To do this, I beat the eggs and sugar then used the flat of a spatula to smear the paste over the side of the bowl to blend it in.  The paste is very sticky, so it didn't beat straight in with my hand mixer.  (I suspect that it might have been easier if I used the Kitchenaid with the paddle attachment).  My method took a bit of time and elbow grease, but worked eventually!

11. Gently beat in the cream, melted butter and salt.

12. Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture.

Assemble the loaf.
13. Alternate large scoops of the pistachio and chocolate mixture in the loaf tin, building it up layer by layer.  There isn't a definitive method of doing this, just lump it all in there however you feel like!  When you're done, use a knife to swirl the mixture a bit.  Don't over-swirl or you'll lose the definition between the two coloured batters.

14. Sprinkle some pistachios over the top.

15. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.  I had to bake mine for about 1 hour and 45 minutes in my finicky oven.

16. Let cool in the pan for a bit, then let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack.