Olive Oil & Pistachio Shortbread Bars

Natalie Paull, Beatrix Bakes, Serves 12


1 large lemon
120g raw pistachios kernels – skin on
350g soft plain flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
200g Mount Zero Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
130g raw caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda


Preheat oven to 150°C. Lightly spray a 23 cm square tin with cooking oil spray and a single sheet of baking paper. Push this in so the finished shortbreads can be lifted out

Chop half of the pistachio to nice chunky pieces and set aside to press on top later. Chop/mortar and pestle the remainder to a fine gravel. Place the pistachio gravel in a bowl and add the flour, sugar and salt. Give it a toss. 

Zest and juice the lemon and set aside in a small bowl.

Add the oil to the dry ingredients and mix together with a stiff spatula – it will look like a thick paste. That’s what you want!

Into the lemon juice/zest, quickly mix in the bicarb soda, letting it foam. Pour the foamy juice into the mix and continue to mix – the dough will stiffen noticeably. 

Scrape the dough into the prepared tin and press it out to evenly fill the tin. Smooth the top with an offset spatula or do a thorough job with the palm of your hand. Scatter the reserved chunky pistachio pieces over the top and press in lightly. 

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the tin from the oven and cut the pale gold and slightly puffed soft hot dough into 12 bars. First cut down the middle of the tin to halve the dough, then cut crossways into bars. Make sure your cuts go all the way through (I like to use a metal bench scraper for this). Return the shortbread to the oven and keep baking for another 25-30 minutes until it is a honey-gold hue. Allow to cool completely in the tin as they are very fragile while still hot. 

If you forget to cut the shortbread halfway during the bake, don’t worry, it can still be cut while warm with a sharp serrated knife.

When cool, gently lift the baking paper with the shortbread out onto a chopping board. Re-cut the bars along the cut marks if needed to fully separate them. 

Natalie Paull
This recipe is inspired by the walnut olive oil kourambiethes recipe in Diane Kochilas’s The Glorious Foods of Greece. These are more than moreish shortbread – they gain complexity from the characteristic of the olive oil you use. It is vegan, easy and any crumbly bits left in the tin are heavenly sprinkled on a scoop (but most likely two) of pistachio gelato. If pistachios aren’t handy, almonds or walnuts can jump in. Whatever nut, these will find their way into your hands many times a day!

Recipe Ingredients from the Mount Zero Range