20cm square cake tin, electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
75g unsalted butter
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g caster sugar
30g level tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1cm cubes
50g green pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 20cm square cake tin with a little spray oil and then line it with baking parchment. Cut a long strip of paper to cover the bottom and come up on opposite sides of the tin with the excess hanging over a little. This makes it easier to lift the baked cake out of the tin.
2. To prepare the blondies, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add the white chocolate and set aside to allow it to melt.
3. Put the eggs and vanilla seeds or extract in a large bowl and, using a hand whisk or a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, give them a good whisk up. They will become really light, fluffy and mousse-like.
4. Add the sugar and keep whisking. The sugar will make the eggs increase in bulk even more. To test if the eggs are whisked up enough, use a spoon to pick up some of the egg mixture and then drop it back down. If they are whisked up enough, the spoonful will sit on the surface for about 5 seconds (if it sits for longer, that’s brilliant too!) before disappearing back into the mixture. Once the egg mixture reaches this stage, it is ready.
5. Give the now-melted chocolate a little stir into the butter to blend and pour it around the edges of the egg mixture. Do this from a low height so you don’t knock out all of that wonderful air which you have just beaten in.
6. Then, using a spatula, fold them together, scooping right down to the bottom of the bowl, as the chocolate tends to sink down there. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder and salt over and fold the mixture in using as few ‘folds’ as possible so you keep all that air in, but enough folds to make sure there are no lumps of flour in there. Finally, gently fold in the strawberries and pistachios.
7. Gently pour the mixture into the prepared tin from a low height and level it out with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30–35 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
8. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. It will collapse in the centre a little, but don’t worry – it will taste great. When cooled, carefully remove from the tin, peel off the paper and cut into eight rectangular bars or 16 bite-sized squares and serve. The pistachios will sink to the bottom along with the strawberries – all meant to happen and all very tasty.
Recipes courtesy of Lorraine Pascal