The Festivities in India bring along with it everything ‘in excess’. Presumably, in North India, this extends above and beyond just material exchanges. Considering this was my first year of being married, there were also many firsts; first holi, Diwali, first karvachauth and so on and so forth. Apart from the gifts that are exchanged, there is a lot of fruit and dry fruit that is presented as well for its auspicious nature. This resulted in excess of fruits and dryfruit in our home, with only 3 people to consume it. There was the usual – have 5 almonds soaked in water overnight, but we really struggled with the consumption of the fruit. I love pomegranates and decided to eat one every single day. Ak did his bit by making grenadine syrup, which has now been preserved with some vodka, while the virgin version was used with soda for mocktails. Highly recommended- the flavours are just too fresh, and if it was peak summer, this would be the perfect cooler on a hot summery day. Ak will do a post on the grenadine cocktail soon.
However, the real struggle was with pistachios. 3 big bags of pistachios, lying there, waiting to be used. And I knew, that my next post had to include pistachios or else it would be a sheer waste. Personally, I am not much of a Pistachio person, but then, this was not just about me. The few things that I can recollect that were made with Pista were Kulfi and Baklava and they both had to be saved for another day, due to the process/setting time involved. Also, I discovered, that pistachio was rich in anti-oxidants and hence, had multiple health benefits. Biscotti was a no-no since we had enough at home. And I surely had something chocolaty in mind. On one of those days, when I was online, sifting through the blogging world, as Ak calls it, I was extremely tempted by Martha Stewart’s chocolate and pistachio Torte here .
The brown and green combination was extremely seductive; and hard to resist. A cake would be hard to consume as usual, so I decided to do brownies instead. I find Nigella’s Brownie’s a tried and tested recipe, and can never go wrong. It is flourless, and yes, heavy on butter; but when one is in the festive mood, a little butter can do no wrong. Have used it for Chocolate Chip Brownies earlier, and has been a stupendous hit and therefore this time, I decided to use it with the pistachios at hand. The original recipe can be found here (I used only half the quantities of what was mentioned)
110g dark cooking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
100g caster sugar or 125g brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g pistachios (unshelled, and soaked in water- I forgot to do mine, but didn’t mind the slightly salty taste. Ak and the brother Ak, however, prefer the more chocolaty flavour)
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
The chocolate and butter are melted in a thick-bottomed pan or double boiled, over low heat.
Remove from heat, add the vanilla and sugar and let it cool a bit. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the pistachios. Pour in a baking tin lined with paper or a foil one. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The mixture will be slightly gooey, but the top crust will look done. Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit. Cut into squares. The brownies can be served with chocolate sauce/ ice-cream or have them sinfully, just as they are.