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STRAWBERRY SEASON: Recipe for strawberry pistachio torte

This April 28, 2014, photo shows strawberries in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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This April 28, 2014, photo shows strawberries in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

The sweet, slightly acidic flavour of fresh strawberries begs for a rich, crunchy accompaniment. And for that, we turned to pistachios.

We start by finely chopping the nuts and mixing them into the dense batter of this rich cake. You'll find the taste and texture similar to pound cake, but — thanks to the pistachios — with deeper flavour. The batter also comes together faster and more easily than a traditional pound cake.

We top the finished cake with both strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. For an extra nutty finish, we also sprinkle additional pistachios over the top, then tie everything together with honey-spiked Greek yogurt for spooning onto individual slices of the torte. It's the perfect way to appreciate freshly picked strawberries.

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STRAWBERRY PISTACHIO TORTE

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (20 minutes active)

Servings: 12

For the cake:

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, plus extra to garnish

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

6 egg yolks

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the topping:

1/2 cup strawberry jam

1 quart strawberries, hulled

6 ounces plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 325 F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray, then line the bottom with kitchen parchment.

In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios, 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, salt, lemon zest and baking powder until the pistachios are finely chopped.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Gently stir in the melted butter, then the flour-nut mixture. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the pan.

Once the cake is cool, remove it from the pan. To do this, place a large, overturned serving platter on top of the pan. Invert the cake, then peel off the parchment. Spread the strawberry jam over the top of the cake, then arrange the strawberries, cut sides down, over the top of the torte. Sprinkle extra pistachios over the top.

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey and vanilla. Serve alongside the cake.

Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories; 180 calories from fat (51 per cent of total calories); 20 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 145 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 25 g sugar; 5 g protein; 115 mg sodium.

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