Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pistachio-Raspberry Tea Cakes

We are rapidly approaching the end of the simple and sweet section of the cookbook. I couldn't believe it myself until I looked ahead a few pages and saw that I only have 2 to go after these pistachio-raspberry tea cakes. It's exciting to finish a section, I feel like I'm really making progress and accomplishing something. No, it's certainly nothing as noble as curing a disease or saving the environment, but a goal is a goal... at least I have one.

I will confess that I wasn't excited about making these cupcakes. As mentioned several times before I'm not a big fan of pistachios and I don't hate raspberries, but I don't love them either. I prefer them in a pureed or syrup form. Like a garnish on a dessert, or perhaps in yogurt. I also figured that not many people would be interested in eating them, including myself, so they would be hard to get rid of.

The first thing I did to start making these cupcakes was to shell (I couldn't find pistachios that had already been shelled) and chop the pistachios. I had bought a small container of pistachios that I thought would be enough for the recipe, which was a little over a cup. I got about 3/4 cup of shelled pistachios. Not enough. I thought I might have an already opened bag of pistachios in the cupboard from a recent attempt at healthy snacking (I just can't do pistachios, I really tried, I swear) but I searched through the cupboard and couldn't find it. However a day later when I was back in that same cupboard looking for something else I found them... on the bottom shelf, right in front of my face. Clearly a future as a detective is not in the cards for me. Since I couldn't find anymore pistachios in the cupboard when I looked for them the first time I decided that I would just cut the recipe in half. Something I've thought of doing before when I had a recipe I wasn't excited about, but this was the first time I actually did it. I had enough pistachios to give me a 1/2 cup for the recipe and enough left over to use for the garnish. It would also be less work and I would have less to eat/get rid of. Everybody wins.

Happy with my decision to cut the recipe in half I proceeded. This recipe was the first I've used that calls for everything to be put together in a food processor. I almost didn't use it since I was afraid that it wouldn't work and blend everything well enough. But, part of this process is trying something new so I forged ahead. I ground the pistachios with the sugar and salt. I did a couple doses since after the first one there were still a couple of larger pieces of pistachio left. I wanted everything to be as fine as possible. I followed the same process for the remaining ingredients and turned out getting a normal looking batter. Though once everything was combined I did use a spoon to make sure everything was really combined since some of the liquid was at the bottom of the food processor and not completely mixed. Truthfully I think cutting the recipe in half was a stroke of luck (and maybe brilliance) since I'm not sure making a full batch would have fit in my food processor.

I filled the liners (which had to be sprayed with cooking spray first, something I've never had to do before) 3/4 full. This gave me 6 cupcakes... perfect! I was so excited to only have 6 cupcakes. I baked the cupcakes for 28 total minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. They may have turned out a little browner than I normally like. But they were by no means too done or burnt. They also looked quite beautiful. The colors were really nice. I can't say the same for the taste.

The batter was pretty good, but I really didn't enjoy the end product. I'm not sure if it was the combination of the pistachios and the raspberries, perhaps it was the consistency. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something wasn't quite right. I only ended up eating the portion of the cupcake that I took apart to take the photos. I even tried to go back a few days later when I was craving something sweet to give them another try and I only took a bite. They just weren't for me. I ended up throwing them away. I knew there was no way Bobby was going to eat them, fruit and nuts together, the cupcakes didn't stand a chance with him. I didn't think anyone at work would be interested in them either, especially since they were a couple days old at that point. I only like to provide baked goods when they're as fresh as possible. If I don't want to eat them, I can't expect other people to be interested.