Traditional pistachio cake, reimagined.Traditional pistachio cake, reimagined.A few weeks ago we went to a family bridal shower. There were lots of aunts and cousins we have not seen in many years. 

When a room full women get together a lot of cackling happens! Stories were being told… ok…a little gossip, memories were flying all over the place and many recipes were being recalled by the older generation. I looked over at Joy and her eyes were sparkling…she loves these old recipes! For a minute I thought she was going to ask for a piece of paper and a pen and start writing them down! Many of you already know that desserts are Joy’s passion and she took over this conversation quickly.

An old Sicilian pistachio cake was served, sparking Joy’s interest, and she annoyingly kept tapping my leg until I paid attention. I rolled my eyes at her (I seem to do that a lot lately), and there she goes….. She fired away, asking a thousand questions about this old-time sweet. We remembered our Nana loved to bake this, but could never find the recipe and she is no longer with us.

Anytime we hear the word pistachio it reminds us of our trips to West Hartford. Nana and Papa lived there in a tiny red brick house with its cottage-like shutters and shiny black lamp post. As soon as we drove down their street, we could hear the loud roar of a lawn mower. We knew Papa was waiting for us and cutting the grass was his way to pass the time! After hugs and kisses, it was time to head out to the small back porch that was outlined by the most beautiful lilac bushes. Their intoxicating scent drifting through the warm air set the mood perfectly as we sat and enjoyed tall frosty glasses of iced coffee. We weren’t sure which dessert Nana would serve but hoped it would be the pistachio cake……it was!

The tiny little house still sits on the corner of 103 Hall Street. The lilac bushes are now overgrown but the scent is still so comforting and the memories are priceless.

Here is a recipe we found and it comes pretty close, with Joy’s twist…a cupcake of course! That is all she talks about…..sometimes it’s a little boring, but always just de-lish!

Pistachio Cupcakes 

2 3/4 cups flour 

2 sticks of butter (room temperature)

1 3/4 cups of vanilla sugar

4 eggs

1 cup of milk

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

1/4 teaspoon of almond

1 package of instant pistachio pudding

3/4 cup of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at at time. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk and vanilla. Then add the package of instant pudding and white chocolate chips. Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes. 

Frost with our favorite “Joy Frosting” (Visit and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Enjoy!