Pistachio Lucia Crown

Rating: 
Yield: 
1 wreath.
Ingredients: 

1 package Hot roll mix
2 tablespoons Butter or margarine
1 Egg
3/4 cup Shelled, natural American pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ground cardamom
2 or 3 pinches Ground saffron (optional)
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 cup Dried apricots, slivered
Icing (recipe follows)

Icing: Blend 2 cups sifted powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk or enough to achieve spreading consistency.

Instructions: 

Prepare dough from hot roll mix with butter, egg and water as directed, first adding 1/2 cup pistachios, sugar, cardamom and saffron to dry flour mixture. Knead 5 minutes, flouring board as needed to prevent sticking. To shape, divide dough into 4 equal parts. Pull and roll 3 parts of dough into 20-inch strands and braid. Carefully transfer to greased baking sheet, pulling braid into an 8- or 9-inch ring and sealing ends together. Divide remaining dough in half. Pull and roll into two 18-inch narrow strands. Twist together then place on top of ring, sealing ends together. Brush with beaten egg and let rise in warm place until soft to the touch and not quite doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and baked. (Cover loosely with foil if top starts to get too dark.) Spread icing over top to glaze, and decorate with apricot slivers and remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Can be used as centerpiece, with candles if desired.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!