Sunday, June 29, 2014

pistachio cherry crumble - let's get crackin'

I'm not sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios nor do I even think they know this blog exists (actually I'm positive they don't), nevertheless this post is going to be me trying my best to get their attention. So let's get crackin' (ohhh...I see what you did there).

If there was an award for biggest pistachio fan, my grandma would win it twice over blindfolded with her hands tied to her back. She is a pistachio fanatic, the quickest pistachio huller I've ever seen. Recently, and by recently I mean a couple hours ago, we bought a 3 pound bag of pistachios and within that time from the car to the house half the bag was gone. Keep in mind that this feat would be impressive for anybody, let alone a small, 80-something year old chinese lady. She pops those quicker than tic-tacs. Sometimes, even two at a time. But in all seriousness my grandma is wonderful...pistachios. Okay even I thought that one was lame, I'm gonna move on to the cooking. 

It's not only my grandma who loves pistachios, they're my favorite as well. The flavor is something almost indescribable. It's sweet and nutty and woodsy and all that, but I feel like the only true way of describing it is just to say it tastes like a pistachio. It's one of those several foods that is defined by what it is because there's nothing else that taste similar. I almost feel like it should be it's own taste (sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter, and pistachio).

Well as you can probably tell by now, the wonderful pistachio was the inspiration for this week's chow creation. But, I didn't just want to be the one thousandth blog to make pistachio ice cream or a pistachio shortbread. I wanted to be an outlier, show you something you haven't seen before, but, also make it easy and accessible. Thus, the birth of the humble but elegant pistachio cherry crumble.

Cherries and pistachios were born to be together. The sweet tartness of the cherries matches perfectly with the fresh nutty pistachios, truly a wonderful taste bud experience. 

To start let's prepare the cherries. Pit, de-stem, and halve two pounds of cherries. You can really use any type of cherry but I use...uh...uh...what type of cherry do I use? Wonderful Cherries? No those are the pistachios. Uh...well like I said it doesn't matter. I'll probably have the type of cherry in the recipe below. Add a tablespoon of each lemon juice, brown sugar, and flour and stir to combine. 

While you're prepping the cherries have your pistachio enthusiastic grandma hull half-a-cup's worth of Wonderful Pistachios. Just to be clear, that's half-a-cup of peeled pistachios. The labor police won't knock on your door if you occasionally let her eat some. 

In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, brown sugar, salt, rolled oats, cashews, and pistachios. Pulse until all the ingredients are well incorporated and it starts to clump. For those of you who have read the list of ingredients at the bottom you may be asking yourself if you can omit the very specific amount of eight cashews. Well you can't. I'm not sure why, but my grandma swears by it and I'm not gonna argue with my pistachio enthusiastic grandmother when I've just deprived her of all the pistachios she just peeled. You don't want me to get killed do you. Notice the lack of a question mark at the end of the preceding sentence, that means it was rhetorical. Or was it? 

Preheat the oven to 350. All that is left is assembly. Butter a 9 inch pie pan and pour your cherry mixture in. Make sure you get all that cherry juice at the bottom because that will be nice and bubbly after it's baked. 

Sprinkle the top with the pistachio tinted green crumble and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden and you can see eruptions of cherry from underneath. 

This crumble/crisp/casserole whatever you want to call it is so delicious, especially if you serve it a la mode style with a large creamy cold scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cherries are tender and bursting with tart juiciness, while the pistachio crumb is sweet and salty and wonderful. All the while you never feel like the cherry pistachio flavors are masked or muddled, but rather enhanced by the other ingredients. I think the success of this dish can be accredited to the simplicity of it, and because it is simple it is elegant. Okay and the pistachios are pretty tasty too. 

And as always, 



for Cherry Mixture
5 cups pitted cherries (2 pounds)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed no exceptions
1 tablespoon flour

for Wonderful Pistachio Crumble
1/2 cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
8 unsalted cashews, one less or more may throw the entire dish off balance

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