Mini pistachio tarts for a WTSIM picnic

Mini pistachio tarts title © J Horak-Druiff 2008

I love a challenge, I do.

And as I’m sure you know, the food blogging world is simply full of challenges.  WTSIM, SHF, DMBLGiT, Daring Bakers, Paper Chef, HHDD, WHB, Click (to name but a few)… the choice is yours!  On any given day of the week you can search the Net and find a foodie challenge that’s right for you.

But for a terminally disorganised person like me, these challenges can present a problem.  Sometimes you forget to look for the event announcement.  Or you buy all the stuff for a killer recipe and then forget the deadline.  Or you just can’t get inspired about a theme.   Or you look at the brief and hyperventilate in terror.

So isn’t it nice that it’s also possible to have little private foodie challenges outside this more formal framework?  Challenges without a theme or a deadline – no pressure at all, in fact.  A few weeks ago (OK, I confess, in MAY!!)  Andrew arrived for dinner at Vivat Bacchus and said with a twinkle in his eye that he had a proposition for me.  “Well, Andrew, you’re a lovely guy and all – I’m just not sure I’m ready to take our relationship to the next level”, I replied.  Andrew rolled his eyes (as he does) at my incurably juvenile sense of humour and explained that this proposition involved food – nothing more sordid.

Andrew’s idea was to challenge me to a mystery ingredient exchange.  He proposed that we buy each other a mystery ingredient which then had to be used in a dish and posted on our blog.  My mystery gift to him was a packet of South African dried mango slices (which became a delicious-looking lamb and mango tagine), and his to me?  A bag pistachios!

Pistachios are old.  Very old.  They were known to the Romans and are one of two nuts mentioned in the Bible (the other being almonds).  The are also hot.  Very hot.  I’d go so far as to say prone to spontaneous combustion.

If you can get over your fear of spontaneous combustion, they are also my favourite type of nut, possibly rivalled only by macadamia nuts.  There’s something about their crazy purple-on-green colouring and savoury flavour that appeals to me immensely and will have me eating an entire packet in one sitting if I’m not careful.  So you could say I was quite pleased when Andrew presented me with my mystery ingredient.  Clearly, he’s a man who knows his audience 😉

One of the few desserts that I can be relied upon to order if I see it on a menu is pecan pie.  I have happy childhood memories of my mom serving us slices of warm pecan pie with cream at teatime on winter afternoons when my dad came home from work.  As a family we’ve always eaten dinner late, so when my dad got home my mom usually had something sweet ready for him to enjoy with his coffee.  His favourite was Black Forest gateau that he sometimes ordered from the bakery near his surgery, but my favourite was warm pecan pie, hands down.  So when Andrew gave me the pistachios, I recalled that he had posted a pecan pie recipe on his site recently which, in turn, set me wondering… what if I were to make pecan pie but without the pecans?

The result was these fabulous little mini pistacho tarts.  The tops were deliciously chewy and nutty, while the pastry was buttery and crumbly, with a caramelly layer between them redolent with rum.  What’s not to like??  The finished tarts were perfectly formed, yet robust.  Because they would transport easily and beautifully, I think they would make the perfect picnic dessert, so I am submitting them as my entry into this month’s Waiter, There’s Something in My… event which is picnic-themed.


MINI PISTACHIO TARTS (makes 6 or more)20080525 PistachioMiniTarts2

100g golden syrup
150g granulated sugar
75g butter
3 Tbsp clear honey
3 Tbsp rum
pinch of salt
3 eggs
150g pistachio nuts

200g cake flour
50g icing sugar
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp iced water


Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Rub the butter into the flour and other dry ingredients.  Add the lightly beaten egg yolk and water, mix well and knead lightly until the dough comes together.  Roll the dough out to about 3mm thickness and press into lightly greased loose-bottomed mini fluted flan tins.  Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes if you can.

Gently heat the syrup, butter, honey, rum and salt.  When the mixture is warm, dissolve the sugar in it – make sure the sugar if totally dissolved before removing from the heat.  Once it has cooled a little, whisk in the eggs and nuts.

Fill the pastry cases with the pistachio mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until set (As I only had 4 mini fluted flan dishes,  I used the remaining pastry and filling to make the slightly larger square tart pictured below – it took a little longer to cook).

Serve warm with a good dollop of double or clotted cream.

20080525 PistachioMiniTartsSquare220080525 PistachioMiniTartsSquareSliced

And if you have not yet done so, please remember to vote for my short story!  Voting closes early next week so these are the final days…

Here’s what other food bloggers made with pistachios:

Angela made pistachio macaroons

Helen made rosewater & pistachio cheesecake pops 

Pille made lemon & pistachio shortbread

David made pistachio gelato

Peter made apricot and pistachio cake

**UPDATE** I have also entered the first photo in this post as my entry into the September edition of CLICK, the monthly photo event hosted by the lovely Jai and Bee over at Jugalbandi.  The theme this month is CRUSTS – check out the entries gallery.


If you enjoyed reading this, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below the post. I'd also love to hear what you thought about this post so please do leave a comment below. Hope to see you again soon!

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. says

    Ha Ha…terminally disorganised…love it & am fast becoming it too! Spot on about blog events…& the personal challenge is fab! I love pistachios (my fave nut),& the tarts you’ve made are STUNNING! Very nice indeed. I think I shall hide in a little corner of the basket.

  2. says

    I love the look of these. Pistachios are one of my favourite nuts (after cashews). And I couldn’t agree more about the disorganisation/blog events thing. It’s a cmplete nightmare trying to keep track of those things.

  3. says

    Damn they look tasty – a mighty fine post killing several birds with one nut as it were.
    Same again next time we meet? (whenever that is!)

  4. says

    I love pistachios! And I love the fact that they’re mini-tarts. Kind of gives me the hope that I won’t be eating as much. Of course, hope shatters when I’m reaching for the 5th one, as I will surely do when presented with these. 😉

  5. says

    Ah. pistachios. When I was very little my parents made to me go evening gym class to lose weight because I was quite, to put it mildly, a large kid. Sadly for them their efforts were negated by my sitting in my friend’s house after school, waiting for the class and eating bags and bags of pistachios. I couldn’t get enough.
    I’d like to try making this but I fear a similar thing would happen, if not to me, then to Goon. They look absolutely delicious.

  6. says

    i just wrote a post b1tching about tart crusts, but this is food porn. i want to lick it off the screen. you did full justice to those glorious pistachios.

  7. says

    Hi Jeanne, I love these. The texture looks really gooey and I love the sound of that buttery pastry. There is something about pistachios I just can’t get enough of, I think it is the colour as well and the flavour – so pretty. I would definitely go for the clotted cream, a nice big blob with the crusty bit on top.
    p.s – I am also terminally disorganised. I have managed to enter one food event in 2 months or something – bad blogger!

  8. says

    Hi Jen,
    I these tartlets are adorable, nuts & alcohol,… yum :-) And the wavy shapes of the crust… cute!
    Btw, I hope you are participating this month´s Tried And Tasted, we are cooking from Jugalbandi(ts).

  9. Eleonora says

    Je ne sais pas si tu lis le français…mais juste te dire BRAVO pour tes belles photos….c’est sublime tout simplement

  10. says

    Kittie – I have to say, eating numerous of those little tarts is an occupational hazard…! So much for portion control 😉
    Darius – thanks!
    Deeba – phew, glad to hear it’s not only me that gets in a muddle with the plethora of blogging events sometimes! And glad you liked the tarts – high praise coming from a “proper” baker 😉 And you don’t have to hide in the basket – you are always invited to join us :)
    Mallika – glad you liked them! And mmmm, I love cashews too. Cashews, macadamias and pistachios would keep me happy forever.
    Andrew – you’re on! And well done on the smutty wordplay – always gets bonus points around here :o)
    Grace – wow – such lovely compliments and you didn’t even taste them! I must say, that gooey, boozy but just above the pastry crust was out of this world…
    Courtney, Kevin and Dragon – thanks for your lovely compliments! Wish I could sent you each a tartlet as a thank you :)
    JS – pistachios rock. And sadly, you are so right about the illusion of portion control… They are too good to have only one!
    Ros – LOL – that’s the way to approach enforced gym class: with a belly full of yummy pistachios! Still, at least you weren’t feasting on crisps…
    Bee – LOL, I love your bitching posts! Must go and have a look now. This one is my standard absolutely-not-health-conscious, all-butter crust that I was originally given to use for mice pies. It’s absolutely dead easy and turns out beautifully every time. Glad you like the pics – and let me tell you, they tasted as good as they look!
    Helen – I have to say the flaky crust, gooey filling and chewy nuts were a winner. I was sorry afterwards that I did not take pics of the pistachios themselves before I used them – their purple-green colour scheme is just too gorgeous.
    And never worry abotu not enterign food blog events – they will still be there when you feel like entering, and real life is more important anyway 😉
    Pythea – thanks! This is definitely the reipe for you!
    Zlamushka – It is a winning combo even if I say so myself… And thanks for alerting me to Treid and Tasted – I’ve been wanting to participate for the longest time (see body of post re. disorganisation!!). And how can I resist cooking from the wonderful Jugalbandits?? Will check out the details now.
    Eleonora – Je comprends un petit peu français, mais je peux comprendre vos beaux compliments! Merci bien!!
    Paz – thanks! And yes, they are perfectly delicious – what nicer way to end a picnic??

  11. says

    love it, love it, love it!!! what a yummy contribution to our picnic! i demand that you make them next year for henley – if i can squeeze it in between exam dates… can’t wait to see you again when i am back in london – it’s been way too long!!!

  12. says

    I would never have thought of making pecan pie with pistachios! What a brilliant brilliant idea.
    (You don’t even know what terminally disorganized means. (I only saw today that WTSIM…picnic had been announced. And the roundup already posted. Aaauuuuughhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

  13. says

    I’ve got a kilo bag of pistachios in the cupboard and have never thought of using them in baking or cooking. I eat them as TV snacks. Thanks for all the recipes, I am definitely going to branch out.