May 15, 2018 - Written by: Nancy Pollard
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Carey Jones image of Franny's Pistachio CakeFranny’s Restaurant in Brooklyn is, alas, now gone.  We sold their cookbook and I continue to use my copy. Their fried green tomatoes, spaghetti with bottarga almond paste cake and their inspired pizzas…sigh,   This particular recipe got a very unfavorable review from a home baker but it was one of their big sellers in the restaurant and a version of it is still for sale in Bklyn Larder.  This is not a cake for cheap thrills or faint hearted bakers, but it is superb.  I use the Bronte pistachios from Sicily, which takes this cake from plain pistachio to higher ground.  I divide the batter into loaf pans, as this particular recipe works better if it is in a long narrow shape, rather than a wide one. I love this cake.

Pistachio Cake
Serves 12
A divine cake which keeps for days in the fridge or covered by a dome at cool room temperature. Recipe has been slightly tweaked.. Cake will sink in the center line, which is where you will put the candied pistachios.
  1. 156 grams (5.5 ounces) 1 cup+2 tbs white all purpose flour
  2. 1.5 tsp baking powder
  3. 3/4 tsp sea salt
  4. 329 grams (11.6 ounces) 1.5 cups+2tbs caster sugar
  5. seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla paste or extract
  6. grated zest from 1 lemon
  7. 340 grams (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  8. 6 large eggs, room temperature
  9. 179 grams (6.3 ounces) 1.25 cups finely ground pistachios
  10. 179 grams (5.3 ounces) 1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
For the topping
  1. 50 grams (1.75 ounces) 1/4 cup caster sugar
  2. 100 grams ((3.5 ounces 3/4 cup pistachios
  3. grated zest and juice of one lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Grease (I use ground almonds) 10x4x2.75" loaf or bar pan,(or use two smaller loaf pans).
  3. Line base with parchment, grease that and flour our use ground almonds entire surface
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
  5. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine sugar, vanilla, zest until the mixture is fragrant.
  6. Add butter and beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy.
  7. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Beat in powdered pistachios and almonds.
  9. Add flour in two additions beating on low until just combined.
  10. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 55 to 75 minutes until cake is golden brown and tester inserted in center comes out clean or you can test with a thermometer until 205-210F is reached
  12. Cool cake for 15 minutes and turn out on wire rack. Cool completely.
  13. To make topping: combine sugar, pistachios, lemon zest and juice.
  14. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until syrup thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
  15. Pour topping over the cake, nestling the pistachios in the trough in the top of the cake.
  1. I use Bronte pistachios and pulse them in a food processor to create a powder. The oil in the pistachios will redistribute throughout the cake and keep it moist. It is wonderful on the first day and a few days later. My preferred baking powder is from New England Cupboard.
Adapted from Frannys Simple Seasonal Italian
Adapted from Frannys Simple Seasonal Italian
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