White Chocolate, Pistachio and Strawberry Blondies

I am always looking for good dessert options that require neither complex equipment (there are actually some times when good old-fashioned winch-arm-power and manual beaters do not replace a stand-up or otherwise electric mixer) or a freezer (soooooo many good ice cream/sorbet/granita recipes!) — and these fit the bill.  They aren’t like the blondies you have probably seen in every coffee shop bakery case and cafeteria line, which are basically just light-colored brownies.  These are more along the lines of a British steamed pudding or even a “sweet frittata”, spongy and moist, but delicious.  And with spring strawberries in season … white chocolate and pistachios … yeah, here we go.

White Chocolate, Pistachio and Strawberry Blondies

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Spray oil and parchment paper
4 ounces strawberries
2 ounces green pistachios
6 tablespoons butter
5 ounces white chocolate
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Did I mention that we FINALLY got our boat back???  She’s been on the hard since last October, getting the bottom refurbished and some other work done.  We went across to the South Shore to pick her up and sail her back today and BOY did it feel good to be afloat again.  This calls for a dessert!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Roughly chop the pistachios, chocolate, and strawberries.  An ulu, as usual, works great for this, but as I think I’ve mentioned before, I use mine SO much for garlic, ginger, herbs and other aromatics that there is a vague savory smell to the bowl … hence I cover it with plastic wrap or wax paper on the rare occasion when I use it for sweets.  I do the same with my wooden cutting boards — designating one side exclusively for fruits or other non-savories and using the other side for the onions, garlic, etc.

Prepare your baking pan by spraying with Pam-like non-stick spray oil, and lining with parchment.  If you have the parchment come up over two opposite edges like a sling you can lift the finished bars right out of the pan for cooling and cutting.  Then melt your butter over low heat in a saucepan, add the roughly-chopped chocolate, and stir until chunks are mostly dissolved, then turn the heat off and stir just until smooth.

Meanwhile, get your mom’s 1940’s egg beaters out and get ready to beat the eggs, which are the real leavening agent in this dessert.

You are going to need to put some winch-strength (or electricity, for those of you at home) into this — you want to whip those eggs until they start to form almost a batter.  This video, they are ALMOST there … the idea is to have a bit that you scoop up sit on top for 3-5 seconds before sinking right back in.

Now that you’ve worked so hard to get all that air into your eggs … GENTLY fold in the vanilla and the chocolate mixture.  Rather than dumping it in, pour it around the very edges of the bowl.  That way it won’t deflate the eggs … it will, however, sink to the bottom of the bowl, so get a good, wide spatula out and really fold it in gently.  Then add the dry ingredients, sprinkling them gently over the top and folding them in, again … yes, gently.  You want to keep all that air in the batter!

Fold the strawberries and pistachios in gently (see how I did that … moved the 4th gentle folding instruction into the NEXT frame so you would hopefully not get mad at me for beating the gently horse with a stick?) and pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This is where that parchment sling comes in handy — give the loaf a few minutes to cool in the pan and then just lift it out and put it somewhere to cool more thoroughly.

When cool, cut into squares.  I may have overdone my strawberries — who can resist when a recipe says to use just 4oz (like maybe 4 good-sized berries) but you have so many that look so good!?  The problem is, they make this already spongy and pudding-like dessert border on overly-moist, so resist if you can.  Still delicious, mind you — as if there’s a way to ruin white chocolate and strawberries with the crunch of pistachios!  Just serve with a fork if you’ve followed me down the path of strawberry overdose.

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