In the kitchen: Playing with pistachios
Pistachios are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. They are also lower in fat than other nuts but are full of fibre. The Northern Cape is renowned for its pistachios, which thrive in the hot, dry climate. Marnus Scholly, Tswalu’s executive chef, sources Senqu River pistachios directly from the Coetzee family’s farm on the banks of the Orange River.
From tree to shelf, a dedicated all-female team handles the pistachios with great care, overseeing the entire process to make sure that every nut is dried and baked for optimum freshness.
The Motse’s pastry chefs recently played around with new dessert ideas using these fresh, local pistachios. They wanted to make this Northern Cape superfood the hero ingredient, rather than just an afterthought for crunch and colour. The result, pistachio frangipane tart, is served as a dessert with Chantilly cream.
“I think this would be an absolute treat after a long afternoon in the bush, perhaps with an espresso on the side or an excellent aged whisky.” – Executive chef, Marnus Scholly.
PISTACHIO FRANGIPANE TART
- 500g cake flour
- 100g icing sugar
- 250g butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1Tbs milk
- 2ml salt
- 115g ground pistachios
- 15g cake flour
- 115g butter
- 115g sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 15ml runny honey
- Rub together the flour, sugar and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, working them into the mixture just until it comes together and starts to form dough.
- Moisten with the milk, working lightly to form a ball of dough.
- Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Line a tart tin with the pastry, and blind bake for 20 minutes at 160°C.
- Leave the tart crust to cool completely while preparing the filling.
- Gently fold the flour through the ground pistachios and set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter very well until fluffy and light in colour.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Gently fold in the dry ingredients.
- Carefully pour mixture into the tart case and bake at 170°C for 30 minutes.
- Brush the surface of the tart with honey when you remove it from the oven.
Serve with Chantilly cream.
Ground pangolin’s diet and climate change
How does one go about studying the food preferences of one of the world’s most shy and elusive mammals? In a recent article researcher, Dr Wendy Panaino addressed the puzzle of what pangolins eat by collecting pangolin scats.
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