Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Pistachio and rosewater cake with mascarpone and roasted plums

Incredibly, this is the 200th recipe I've posted here. For a while, I wasn't sure if I'd post it at all because in my haste to carve up this cake and serve it I didn't get a great photo but if this isn't a celebration cake, I don't know what is. Nothing says decadence like a dessert containing a budget-blowing boatload of pistachios. Roasted and chopped, they're bound with eggs, sugar, lemon zest and a dash of rosewater and baked into what is essentially, in taste and texture, one large macron - a sweet, chewy centre cased in a crisp exterior... with mascarpone cream and roasted plums piled on top. The end result is elegant, effortless, gluten-free and most importantly, delicious. Especially on a sticky Sunday afternoon in Brisbane surrounded by friends.

Pistachio and rosewater cake with mascarpone and roasted plums
Recipe adapted from Hummus and Co by Michael Rantissi and Kristy Frawley of Kepos St Kitchen, as published in The Guardian

If you don't have plums yet where you are, you could certainly substitute berries, which are readily available frozen year round. Don't be tempted to add more rosewater - it's the sort of thing that can be a bit OTT if overused. Just the smallest amount will work beautifully.

220g pistachio nuts
5 large eggs, separated
300g caster (superfine) sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp rosewater
6 plums, halved, stones removed
½ lemon
250g mascarpone 

300ml thin (pouring) cream
2 tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 24 cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Line a roasting tin with baking paper.

Lightly toast the pistachios in a frying pan over medium heat. Allow to cool, then coarsely chop the nuts until they are about the size of rock salt granules.

With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Transfer to another bowl.

Add the egg yolks and 200g of the caster sugar to the mixer bowl (don't worry about cleaning it) and whisk until fluffy and creamy. Fold in half the chopped pistachios, then fold in the egg whites, the remaining pistachios, lemon zest and rosewater, taking care not to overmix - you want the batter as aerated as possible.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, until the cake is lightly firm to the touch but cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.

Increase the oven temperature to 180C. Put the plum halves in the roasting tin, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and squeeze over the lemon juice. Roast for 10–12 minutes, until slightly tender. 

Just before serving, whisk the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. 

Remove the cake from the tin and spread the mascarpone cream over the top. Add the plums and drizzle with the cooking juices.

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