Winter weekend (Chilli pistachio brownie)

Well winter is finally upon us, apparently it’s the best start to the snow season for many many years, for us though it has been challenging, not the cold so much but the relentless wind pushing our garden to its limits. We haven’t suffered any losses but some plants are looking very stressed and tired. So this weekend I’ve been happily playing and experimenting in my kitchen, we had friends over for dinner on Saturday night and I decided to focus on a Spanish theme mainly because I wanted to make paella again, it’s such a wonderful dish that makes use of our local seafood and fresh vegetables from the garden.

I wanted to make a Spanish style dessert and thought of matching chocolate, chilli, spiced rum and pistachios. The base for the cake was a brownie recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cook’s Companion”.

Chilli pistachio brownie
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
This cake combines the flavours of chocolate with chilli, pistachios and spiced rum.
  • 125 g butter
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of spiced rum or Pedro Ximenez sherry
  • 100 g sifted flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (Mexican canela if you can get it)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or pequin chilli powder (or more to taste)
  • 125 g chopped pistachios
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C
  2. Line a cake tin with baking paper (20cm)
  3. Melt the butter gently, adding the chocolate pieces when half the butter has melted
  4. Take off the heat and stir until the mix is smooth and thoroughly melted
  5. Let the chocolate mixture cool
  6. Beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy
  7. Gently fold the chocolate and egg mixtures together
  8. Add the flour and other ingredients to the cake batter
  9. Place into the prepared tin and bake for 30 min
  10. Let the cake cool in the tin or serve warm

I’ve been wondering how to make the most of the last 5 blood oranges on our tree and ended up making a Jewish almond orange cake and some confit oranges (not sure what I’ll use them for yet though). To make the cake you boil  2 – 3 whole oranges for 2  hours and when cool blend them into a puree. The recipe uses 6 eggs, almond meal and sugar and that is all! It’s a very popular cake but not one of my favourites, I’m not sure I like the texture or flavour that much. Last time I made it I didn’t like it that much either, oh well, that’s cooking, you win some you lose some.