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Courgette & lemon drizzle loaf with pistachio


I was given a slice of this a while back and when my friend told me what it was, I thought, ‘Courgettes in a cake, really?’ But when I took a bite into that beautifull­y moist and flavoursom­e crumb, I was sold. The fact that courgettes are one of your ‘five a day’ is a bonus! Choose the green pistachios in the shops, not the brown, dry, shrivelled ones. If you can’t find them then just leave them out or substitute with hazelnuts or walnuts. SERVES 8-10 oil, for spraying or brushing 325g courgettes, grated 120g butter (I use salted) 180g caster sugar zest of 2 lemons handful of pistachios, plus extra for decoration seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract 3 medium eggs 280g self-raising flour ½ tsp baking powder pinch of salt FOR THE DRIZZLE juice of 2 lemons 60g icing sugar EQUIPMENT 1.2 litre loaf tin 1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4). Line the loaf tin with baking parchment and spray or brush with a little oil. I usually put a strip along the whole length of the tin, making sure that it comes well over the edges. This makes it easy to remove the loaf when it is cooked. 2 Place the grated courgettes in a tea towel and wring out as much of the moisture as you can over the sink. This can take a few minutes but it is an important step as the loaf may become too soggy otherwise. 3 Melt the butter in a pan and then put it in a bowl along with the sugar. Add the courgettes to the bowl along with the lemon zest, pistachios, vanilla and eggs and mix this together until combined. Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and carefully fold this in. 4 Tip the mixture into the lined tin and then bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. 5 Once the loaf is baked, remove it from the oven and set aside while you make the drizzle. Mix the lemon juice and the icing sugar together. Using a fork or toothpick, gently prick the top of the loaf and then pour the drizzle all over the cake so that some soaks into the loaf and the rest forms a light glaze on top. Remove the loaf from the tin, sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top and serve. TIP When making any cake, the less you can stir it the better for a light texture: over-mixing means that the stretchy proteins (gluten) in the flour can become overworked, resulting in a denser cake. ➤

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