I adore the colour — and flavour — of pistachios. The recipe for these biscuits was influenced by a variety of cultures, most notably those where pistachios are a common delight (such as Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Greece). They are a simple shortbread-style biscuit with an added tang of lemon and honey, and a secret treasure filling of spiced pistachio nuts.
Emerald Centre Biscuits
(Makes 24 biscuits)
125g Unsalted Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
2Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups SR Flour
40g Pistachios, finely chopped
3 cloves, ground
2 or 3 Cardamom pods, seeds only (ground)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
“If we can think of somewhere to hide the jewels from my turban and smuggle them out, we can run away from the Sultan and open a pastry shop together”
To make the outer biscuit, cream the butter and sugar before adding the honey, oil and the zest and juice of one lemon. Sift the flour into the mixture and combine. Knead for one minute on a floured surface and then cover and refrigerate for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the chopped pistachios, honey, and spices. Prepare two baking trays (with baking paper, foil or by greasing them). Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C.
Take a tablespoon of the biscuit mixture and shape it into a dish, spoon some of the pistachio treasure into the indent and then fold the pastry around it. Roll this into a ball and place balls 2cm apart on the baking trays.
Bake for around 10 minutes, or until golden. These would be marvelous accompanied by thick, black Turkish or Greek coffee…
(The painting is by an unknown artist and can be found at the Pera Museum, Turkey).