Sugar Hit

Pistachio nuts are one of the coolest ingredients ever – they are so beautifully green, with colour like that you just can’t go wrong.

When you cut through them it’s like adding little jewels into your food creations. Probably my favourite visual treat is cutting through chocolate panforte at Christmas time – ah the pleasure of seeing that distinctive pistachio green against the deep cocoa brown of the cake

On this occasion I had a handful of nuts left over and made a pistachio praline. For this I made a basic white sugar toffee in a saucepan, spread thinly over a paper lined baking sheet. Once fully set fold baking paper back over toffee and smash away with a mallet.

I also had some left over egg whites and it was a calm Saturday night crying out for some excitement in the form of a massive sugar hit. So i made some mini-meringues with the help of Stephanie Alexander’s ‘Cooks Companion’ and cooked them for a bit longer and slower than i usually do so the outsides went a great caramely brown and the inside was still stretchy. Yum!

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Then back to the pistachio praline, with a wooden spoon and a strong arm I mixed that through some fave vanilla ice-cream, set into mini-moulds and back into freezer for another hour or so to re-set.

For the plating up (oh that sounds so much more pro than the word ‘serving’. Thank you Masterchef) – Meringues decorated with some fresh cream and fruit and the praline ice-creams set on the top.

You know when a dessert is very good by the quietness of your male audience. Boys & men go very very quiet when they first taste a sweet they love. In this case the silence from my loving husband and my step-son said it all.

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