Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flourless pistachio cupcakes with rosewater icing

It's probably because I have time on my hands, but I've been in the middle of some kind of reorganisation craze since I started annual leave. I've been madly moving the contents of all the kitchen cupboards and shelves around, finding things I forgot I had. Just before Christmas I turned the shelving over the buffet unit into a book case which means I now have room in my book cases for the other accumulated books that have been sitting stacked on the side table!

I've also been clearing out the pantry looking for anything that needed to be used up. I found a bag of pistachios to use and went searching the net for a pistachio cupcake recipe. All the recipes I found called for flour, and a lot of them were just vanilla cupcakes with pistachios stuck on top of the icing. I had already used the last of the flour I had making fruit cakes for Christmas so I improvised an almond meal recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

  • 1 cup whole unsalted pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal

  • 125g butter or nuttalex, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • Pink food colouring (optional)

  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios for decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees. 
  2. Using a food processor or blender, process the pistachios in small batches till finely ground.
  3. Combine the pistachios, almond meal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. 
  4. Mix in butter, vanilla, rosewater, and eggs, until smooth. 
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners.Bake about 30 minutes or till a knife poked into the centre of a cake comes out clean. 
  6. Leave cakes in the tin to cool.

  1. Beat butter in a large mixer till smooth and and slightly lighter in colour.
  2. Mix in the icing sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time.
  3. Add in rosewater and food colouring and mix till smooth.

  1. Ice each cupcake and decorate each with a sprinkle of crushed pistachio.

The cakes were nice and moist and for an improvised recipe at 1 in the morning they turned out quite well. While tall swirls of icing always looks nicer on cupcakes, I personally think it would be too sweet to do with this cupcake.

Apologies for the camera phone photos. My camera died a while back and I haven't decided what I'm getting as a replacement yet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas pudding vodka and eggless eggnog

Wow, it's been a really long time since my last post! It's been an insanely busy year at work, coupled with wedding planning, unwell dogs and the general family rollercoaster having more extreme ups and downs than usual. It's nice to finally have some free time again. For a couple of weeks at least... While I am enjoying my much awaited annual leave, I'll try to put up a few posts with some recipes I've had sitting waiting till I had the time available to make them (between playing Skyrim which is awesome!).

Today's recipes should really have gone up before Christmas, but better late than never...

In Sweden it is common to have a small drink of spirit at Christmas time, usually vodka or akvavit. This year I had a go at making my own flavoured vodka for skål.

This recipe is modified from The Hairy Biker's 12 Days of Christmas, and it tastes brilliant! The original recipe called for 75grams of caster sugar which I omitted because I thought it would make the vodka too syrupy sweet. I'm glad I did because all that fruit made the vodka sweet enough as it was. I also dropped the nutmeg from the recipe because one of our guests has a nutmeg allergy.

Christmas pudding vodka


  • 300g mixed dried fruit (my mix had citrus peel, sultanas, raisins and currants)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice *
  • 6 cloves
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 750ml bottle decent quality vodka


  1. Mix in a large jug or other container.
  2. Cover tightly with a lid or clingwrap.
  3. Leave the mix in the fridge for 3 days, stirring once or twice daily.
  4. Strain the liquid into a jug through a fine seive lined with muslin. ** 
  5. Pour the liquid into a bottle and keep in the fridge or freezer till ready to serve.

*I used my friends home blended mixed spice that has no nutmeg but contains cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger.
**Since I didn't have muslin, I improvised, straining it through a coffee plunger which did the job.

The result was a beautifully deep amber coloured vodka that did actually taste like a Christmas pudding. 

Served in a whiskey glass since I couldn't find my shot glasses... 

Since the dried fruit soaked up a decent amount of vodka you don't get back a full bottle. The leftover vodka fruit is great for making fruit cakes or having with icecream. 

I also made a batch of eggless eggnog.

Eggless eggnog

  • 1 pack silken tofu. The pack I used was 300grams.
  • 4 cups milk. I used soy. 
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice.
  • 3/4 cup of brandy.
  • 1/2 cup of dark rum.
  1. Put everything in a blender and blend till smooth.
  2. Leave the nog in the fridge to chill.
  3. Serve over ice with a dusting of spice over the top.  
Unfortunately by the time I remembered I needed a photo, all the nog had vanished... 

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. With all the pudding vodka and eggnog I know I did.