Almonds and pistachios

{Crunchy, fragrant, amazing when fresh}


Perhaps it’s not surprising that a dessert where almonds are used would be paired with a sauce made from apricots. The nut and the fruit are botanically related and both grow well in California’s central and northern regions. In fact, plums, cherries and peaches also are in the same family as the almond. Saucing the dessert with a puree of any of those stone fruits would be wonderful.

On the other hand, with its chlorophyll-laden nut, the pistachio tree belongs to a completely different botanical family. But sometime members of different families get along well with each other and nowhere is this truer than in the pastry world. Freshly processed pistachios, with their almost rosy fragrance and frequently beautiful green color are the perfectly rich foil for the more austere lightly toasted almonds. Freshly roasted, chopped and used here to top crisp sheets of buttery baked filo, both varieties of nuts are the perfect accompaniment to the creamy voluptuousness of the Panna Cotta (see the accompanying recipe).

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