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[Photographs: Lucy Baker]

There is a fancy gourmet market in my neighborhood that sells the most delicious pistachio butter. Brilliant green, slightly sweet, and intensely nutty, it's easily one of the best spreads I have ever eaten. The trouble is, it's imported from Italy and costs $30 a jar. Since I just can't live without it slathered on my morning toast, I decided to see if I could make a passable version at home for a fraction of the price.

Because pistachios are expensive, I limited my recipe to only one cup. Then I added one cup of more wallet-friendly whole blanched almonds. I toasted the nuts in the oven to give them a deeper, more intense flavor. I definitely wanted my pistachio butter to be sweet, but I didn't want it to be as sugary as supermarket peanut butter. 1/4 cup of honey did the trick, but it's entirely a matter of personal taste; use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup. Ditto with the salt. I wanted my butter to have a nice salty kick at the end to balance the honey and bring out the flavor of the pistachios. If you prefer less of a bite, decrease the amount to 1/4 teaspoon.

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While my pistachio is a bit darker in color than the imported version that inspired it, the taste is every bit as addictive. The pistachios are rich and nutty, and the honey adds a mild, floral sweetness. The consistency is smooth and slightly granular, with tiny nuggets of pistachio throughout. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups, which is enough to fill three 4-ounce jars, and it will keep for up to two months in the fridge. The lovely green hue makes it an especially appropriate gift for spring.

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