Cranberry-Pistachio Yogurt Cake

My favorite food magazine used to be Gourmet. I loved it because it was serious about food but not pretentious. It approached food as more than just nourishment. It appreciated its many dimensions and roles in our lives and did it all with fun, class, and a hell of a lot of great recipes and advice.

And for the last ten years of its life, it was headed by Ruth Reichl, one of my food idols. I always joke that if I run into her somewhere, I will turn into a blithering idiot or a twelve-year-old-girl-meeting-Bieber, and will probably just end up muttering “I vav you” or something incomprehensible like that.

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Anyway, when Condé Nast announced in 1999 that they were shutting down Gourmet, I was really upset. But even worse was the accompanying announcement that they were putting all their resources in Bon Appétit,  a magazine that ranked just above Cooking Light or The Rachel Ray Show in my eyes. So, I kept my last issue of Gourmet, complained for a while, and then went on with my life.

But then in 2010, they changed the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit to Adam Rapoport and something happened. The magazine became more interesting, more useful, more joyful about food. In other words, it became more like Gourmet.

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To make a long story short, I subscribed to it and I now devour it every month (though I still miss Gourmet). This recipe is a variation on a recipe that appeared in Bon Appétit in May 2012 for a French Yogurt cake. It’s a brilliant recipe (a variation of one that has existed in France for decades). It’s simple to make (just two bowls and a whisk), it’s delicious, and it’s infinitely adjustable.

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My version here is one of our favorites. It combines the lemony goodness of the cake, with sweet-tart cranberries, and the crunch of pistachios. I make it probably twice a month, let it cool, slice it, and freeze the slices in pairs of two. Whenever we want, we take two slices out at night and leave them overnight on the counter to thaw. They make an excellent breakfast.
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Cranberry-Pistachio Yogurt Cake – Adapted from Bon Appétit

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 cup sugar
finely grated lemon zest of one lemon (preferably organic/unsprayed)
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries, very coarsely chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

* I use one 7 oz small container of FAGE Total greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 8 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch loaf pan with a little vegetable oil. Dust with flour and tap out excess.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add chopped cranberries and mix with a spoon.

Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend. Don’t overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle chopped pistachios and very gently press them with palm of your hand so that they adhere to the batter. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely. The cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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