Thursday, March 01, 2007

Food gifts: lemon and pistachio shortbread

My 85-year old paternal grandmother refuses to accept Christmas gifts. Or if she does, you can be pretty sure to find the given item - be it a book, a lovely shawl or a pair of woollen socks - in your next birthday or Christmas parcel, which is both cute and embarrassing. So years ago we decided to give her presents she cannot pass on - a newspaper subscription, a bottle of medicinal brandy or something similar. This year I gave her a gift-wrapped bag of home-made pistachio and lemon shortbread to devour with her daily cup of tea infusion.

I think she liked them:)

Pistachio and lemon shortbread
(Muredad pistaatsia-sidruniküpsised)
Recipe adapted from Epicurious (Bon Appétit, May 2004)
Yields 24 pieces



350 ml plain flour
125 ml sugar
125 ml semolina/cream of wheat
100 grams butter
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 grams green pistachios, coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 165°Celsius.
Butter a small square cake tin.
Mix flour, sugar and semolina in a bowl, add cold cubed butter and work through the dough with a knife until you've got fine crumbs. Add lemon zest and vanilla extracts, then work in the pistachios (this bit is best done with your hands).
Press the mixture into the cake tin, make indentions with a fork.
Bake at 165°Celsius for about 30-35 minutes, until the cookies are cooked but not yet browned.
Take out of the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 24 squares.
Cool completely in the tin. Best kept at room temperature, covered with foil.
Eat within a few days.

PS I've made pistachio and lemon cookies before - check those out, too:)

6 comments:

Susan said...

Pille, my grandmother was the same way. In fact, when we would visit her, she would often walk around her house looking for objects to give to us. So, I agree about food gifts. And I'd happily accept some of these pistachio treats.

mae said...

You know, i love, love pistachio! So this is why you're running out of them. The shop i normally get them from have run out too. They sell them in the supermarkets but they don't seem to be the same quality. When there's a shortage, one can't be fussy.

How could your nan pass on them? They looked so temptingly delicious.

Mae

sciencemel said...

I agree with your grandma... I actually don't accept presents any more either. I'd rather people enjoy the company without feeling obligated to bring something. =)

Pille said...

Susan - Being a chocoholic, I don't mind her giving me chocolate every time we visit though:)

Mae - I haven't sadly found a shop that sells un-salted pistachios here in Estonia yet. I'll be in London in April - will make sure to stock up on green pistachios then:)

Sciencemel - I'm with you. I've tried to tell the whole family that I'd much rather invite everybody over for a nice Christmas meal and blow the budget on great food, but it seems that the need to present gifts is genetic to them!

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Sally Duffin said...

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
nice post and thanks for sharing...