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Apr 22, 2010 12:57 PM

Almonds vs. Pistachios

A question for you expert bakers: I want to do a variation on an orange-almond-olive oil cake recipe. It calls for 6 oz. raw almonds (which are then toasted and crushed). I want to try it with pistachios. Since they seem oilier than almonds, I'm wondering what kinds of adjustments, if any, I should make to the recipe. The recipe also calls for 2/3 c. olive oil and 1 c. flour. Thoughts?

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  1. I bake for a living; personally, I wouldn't make any adjustments but that's JMO

    1. If you're set on using pistachios, try it out without changing anything else. There's actually more fat in almonds, so I'd say the cake will still work out just fine with different nuts.

      1. I wouldn't make any adjustments either. I think I read somewhere recently that pistachios are not as oil laden as almonds; I mean, you don't see much pistachio oil around, but almond oil is readily available.

        I'm sure you have a recipe already, but here's a recipe link, more for an example, that will show you that substituting pistachios for almonds is cool:

        The amount of flour and olive oil you're using is fine; it's almost the same amount, ounce for ounce, as the amount in the link. It's going to be a nice, moist cake.

        1. Thanks, all. I had no idea that almonds were oilier than pistachios; I learn so much here. So I'll proceed w/a straight substitution.

          BTW, I have made this cake according to the recipe (from Orangette) several times, and we love it, but I have a boatload of shelled pitachios so thought I'd try a variation. (It is esp. good for breakfast, w/coffee, and it's a great gift cake, something to take someone going through a difficult time. It's unfussy, keeps well, freezes well, can do dessert duty, esp. w/a dollop of whipped cream, or picnic duty as well as coffee or tea.)

          5 Replies
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            I agree that no changes to the recipe should be necessary.
            It sounds great btw, would you mind posting the recipe?

            1. re: rabaja

              Yes, please post recipe or link to recipe.

              1. re: rabaja

                Here it is, lifted straight from Molly Wizenberg's Orangette Blog, with her notes. I hope it's ok to do that. (I find the cake's name a little misleading--no marmalade, per se, in it.)

                Marmalade Cake
                Adapted from the Boonville Hotel

                You could make this cake with store-bought roasted almonds, but I like to buy them raw and toast them myself. That way, I can control how deeply they’re toasted, and they also taste fresher. If you’re short on time, you can toast them a day or two ahead. You might also want to plan ahead for preparing the citrus fruits, since boiling and cooling them takes time. (And remember to use organic oranges and lemons, since you’ll be eating the rind.) Once you’ve got the nuts and fruits ready, this cake is quick to make.

                1 small to medium orange
                1 lemon
                6 ounces raw almonds
                1 cup all-purpose flour
                1 Tbsp. baking powder
                4 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
                ½ tsp. table salt
                1 ½ cups sugar
                2/3 cup olive oil
                Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

                First, get to work on the citrus. Put the orange and the lemon in a saucepan, and cover with water. (They’ll want to float. Don’t worry about it.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, and cool.

                Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and set a rack in the middle position. Put the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan, and bake until they look golden and smell warm and toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. (I tend to get nervous about burning them, and consequently, I always try to pull them out of the oven too soon. Don’t do that. Let them really toast.) Set aside to cool completely. When the almonds are cool, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground, the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.

                Set the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch round springform pan.

                When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half, and scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half, and discard the seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves in the food processor – there’s no need to wash it after grinding the almonds – and process to chop finely, almost to a coarse paste.

                In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

                Combine the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Add the citrus, almonds, and olive oil, and beat on low speed to just incorporate. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

                Note: This cake tastes even better on the second - or even third - day, as the flavors meld and mellow. Store it at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap.

                Yield: 8 to 10 servings

                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Now that sounds very good, glad to see the 9-inch springform used, as that's the size I have. Let us know when you make the pistachio version.