Pistachio cardamom tart

Ready for the oven, the filling is still very green.

Ready for the oven, the filling is still very green.

I designated last Saturday as the inaugural Pie Day. The original plan was to bake three kinds of savoury pastries and two sweet varieties. Including myself, there were going to be about eight people hanging out for my pie themed lunch.

But sometimes the gods take pity on me and my overambitious ideas. One by one in the days beforehand, five people pulled out, citing sickness or other sudden commitments. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise so I ended up only making chicken and chestnut pie and served it with mash.

For dessert, I baked a cardamom spiced pistachio tart because what’s a tart but an open pie? I really like cardamom and love spices in baked goods. I made a basic frangipane paste but replaced most of the almonds with blitzed raw pistachios. For an intense spicing, I crushed cardamom seeds taken from whole pods rather than use the ground variety. The crushed seeds were reminiscent of eucalyptus and ginger.

Killing two birds with one stone, I served the warm tart with a heavenly orange-blossom-creamsicle hybrid.

Once baked, it's golden brown with small flecks of green

Once baked, it’s golden brown with small flecks of green

Feeds: 8-10 people
Start cooking: 2 hours before eating

Pistachio cardamom tart
Tart pastry adapted from Smitten Kitchen


Tart pastry

  • 150 grams x plain flour
  • 90 grams x butter
  • 1 teaspoon x sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon x salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons x ice water

Pistachio frangipane

  • 100 grams x whole pistachios
  • 50 grams x almond meal
  • 2 x large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 150 grams x sugar
  • 30 grams x plain flour
  • 100 grams x softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon x sea salt
  • 10 x whole cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon x vanilla extract


  1. We’ll make the tart pastry first. Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, add the butter by cutting until incorporated.
  2. Add in four tablespoons of water, stirring pastry with a knife until it starts to come together. Press dough together gently and if it’s not coming together, add one more tablespoon of water.
  3. Wrap dough in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, make the pistachio filling. Blitz the whole pistachios in a food processor (or place in a bag and bash with your rolling pin) until a little coarser than almond meal.
  5. Crush the seeds from the whole cardamom pods. Place pistachios, almond meal, sugar, salt, plain flour and crushed cardamom seeds in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Mix softened butter and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients. Then beat in an egg at a time until smooth.
  7. After the tart dough has rested, flour your rolling pin. I like to roll out dough on a sheet of baking paper that is very lightly dusted with flour. That way, I can simply invert the sheet onto my tart tin. Roll dough out gently until 3-4mm thick in the approximate shape of your tart case.
  8. Gently lay the pastry over the tin and shape to fit. This pastry is very forgiving so patch any holes as required.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.
  10. Pour the pistachio filling over the pastry and chill the tart in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  11. Bake the tart for 75 minutes. The filling will become golden brown. Check the tart at the 60 minute mark and if it’s starting to look very brown, cover with foil for the remaining 15 minutes.

I recommend serving the tart warm as the heat brings out the cardamom flavour. For floral-creamsicle goodness, a cloud of orange vanilla cream, speckled with pomegranate was the perfect accompaniament.