Pumpkin Pistachio Loaves with Tahini Frosting

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

These cardamom-scented loaves are studded with pistachios and topped with an ethereal sweet frosting with the nutty, slightly bitter flavor of tahini. They make wonderful host or holiday gifts. The frosting may be made a week or more in advance, and the loaves keep well for up to three days. To make them ahead, keep the frosting in a covered container in the refrigerator and frost up to 1 day before serving.

  • Course: Dessert

All you need for this recipe and more...



6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup tahini

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Orange zest

Chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. For the loaves: combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of and electric mixer
  3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. Fold in the pistachios.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into a 6-cavity mini loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean, about 30-32 minutes. Cool in the pans 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. For the frosting: beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until lightly and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tahini, confectioners™ sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Spread the tops of the cooled pumpkin loaf with the frosting and sprinkle with the the orange zest and chopped pistachios.