This is a pistachio post. It is a post dedicated to the perfect snack. It is a post filled to the brim with ridiculous amounts of this salty morsel. I have recently—and by recently I mean like right this moment as I sit here eating my fifth piece of cake—come to the realization that pistachios are the best nut ever. Hands down. One hundred percent. The greatest. I used to think the title was held by cashews but alas, all this time I have been mistaken. Blinded, I was misinformed and deceived. The amount of flavor that pistachios have is so often overlooked and misunderstood. Time and again we think of pistachios solely as a fancy snack one might find at a party or gathering of some sort. While yes this happens to be true, we somehow seem to forget that pistachios are incredible in sweet dinners and savory desserts. Wait, I got that wrong. Pistachios are delicious in savory dinners and sweet desserts. Either way, we cast it off to the side when it comes to cooking and baking, because other nuts are much more traditional when it comes to such tasks. Almonds, walnuts and peanuts have taken over the spotlight and forced us to dismiss the pistachio as a main actor in the kitchen. This cake has changed my life, for the better. Although this is the first time I bake with pistachios, we do go way back, pistachios and I. We have a connection that I should have remembered before.
I always associate pistachios with my childhood. Ever since I can remember my favorite ice cream flavor is and has been pistachio. I will never say no to a giant, heaping, enormous helping of gelato pistachio and if you ever find me denying myself this pleasure I give you permission to slap me across the face. I can recall several weekends in my youth where my sisters and I would each be treated to a dollar. To a child in the 90’s, this was a goldmine. The three of us would walk down to the neighborhood Rite-Aid/Thrifty’s to see what we could spend our fortune on. I would get a giant scoop of pistachio ice cream while my sisters would spend their money on more sophisticated items. I walked out of the store—a skinny, tall, and awkward kid wearing kaki shorts and Chuck Taylor high-tops—holding a cone much too big for a child of any size. All the way home I would enjoy my treat as my sisters chit-chatted about “grown-up” things or whatever it was that older sisters talked about. I was that one weird kid who did not get excited about chocolate, neither did I jump up for joy at the sight of strawberry. No, I was the odd child who begged for pistachio, in all its green glory. The one who would scour the flavors with my nose pressed up against the glass scanning the tubs of ice cream until I found the green one without the minty chocolate bits in it.
The sun would set off in the distance casting an orange, purple, and red hue around our neighborhood, just as we got back home. The three of us would sit down on the front porch steps as I finished my ice cream cone—my sisters amazed on how I could finish such a big treat and still ask what was for dinner—and in that moment life could not have been better. You would think that now as an adult my tastes for cold sweet treats would change and evolve, but thankfully it has not. I still find joy, comfort, and pleasure in pistachio ice cream, often craving it whenever the three of us are together driving by a Rite-Aid. Although now the cone is the perfect size for me. I guess you can say deep down at heart I am still that tall odd kid doing what I do best; eating pistachio ice cream preferably while wearing shorts with Chuck Taylor high-tops. I guess some things never change.