Pistachio and Almond Melba Toast

Pistachio and Almond Melba Toast << http://underthebluegumtree.comUsually my attempts at making homemade melba toast go something like this. I go to the supermarket and buy a loaf of cheap sliced white bread, toast it, split the slices in half and grill it again.

There’s nothing wrong with making melba toast this way. In fact, it’s darn right delicious. But sometimes I can’t help feeling that serving up supermarket sliced white bread alongside a really good pâté just doesn’t cut it somehow.

That’s where this recipe comes in. A melba toast with bells and whistles made completely from scratch and a perfect accompaniment to your homemade pâté or terrine.

I first saw this recipe in Food and Home Entertaining magazine and whilst I’ll give them kudos for the idea, errors in both the ingredients and method saw my first attempt go in the bin.

Having figured out where things were going wrong, a second attempt produced perfect, wafer-thin slices of nutty melba toast. The inclusion of pistachios, which I think look rather pretty, was a happy accident. The original recipe contained just almonds but as I didn’t have enough for a second batch, I decided to use up the ground pistachios left over from my chocolate and raspberry caramel tarts.

Keeping the bread in the freezer is a great tip to ensure that it remains firm and easy to slice thinly. It also means you can cut slices of melba toast whenever the mood takes you with no wastage.

The only word of caution I would give is that there is a hefty dose of sugar in these homemade melba toasts and as a consequence, they are quite sweet. This means they pair perfectly with strong toppings like liver pâté but may not work so well with more subtle savoury options such as vegetarian spreads.

Next time I will try reducing the sugar a little although I am unsure whether this would affect the structure of the bread. Alternatively, I think the addition of herbs (thyme would work very well here) or a hefty dose of black pepper would help counteract the sweetness.

Pistachio and Almond Melba Toast (adapted from Food and Home Entertaining)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 60g pistachios, ground

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper.

2.  Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Tip in the sugar and continue whisking until the mixture reaches stiff peak stage.

3.  Sift a quarter of the flour over the egg whites and fold in gently with a spatula, being careful to avoid knocking the air out of the whites.. Repeat, adding a little of the flour each time until it is all incorporated. (Add the flour all at once and you will have a lumpy, disastrous mess like I did the first time ;-) ) Then fold through the nuts.

4.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until light golden brown. Allow to cool then freeze for a couple of hours or overnight to make slicing easier.

5.  Before serving, slice the bread very thinly with a sharp serrated knife. Place the slices on a baking tray and bake at 110C/90C fan for about 20 minutes until crisp.

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