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Pumpkin Pistachio Loaves with Tahini Frosting

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.


Recipe Details

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. For the loaves: combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of and electric mixer; beat on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally, until the mixture is very creamy. Add the pumpkin and orange zest and beat until incorporated.
  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.

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