Sigh. I wish everything was as easy as this pistachio cake. Life has been throwing me a few curve-balls lately, leaving me with almost no time to myself. Financial, family and work issues have all arranged to meet up at the same time and bite me in the arse. When I feel like things are starting to get me down though, I often lose myself in baking. There's something so comforting in the fact that if I follow a set of instructions step by step, I'll achieve the desired result.
This cake was light and airy, melting on the tongue. The pistachio throughout the cake was subtle and earthy, but also lent some crunch. The orange blossom syrup had a delicate, whimsical flavour that went well with the cake, and the figs on top were from Stephen's grandmother's tree and were beautifully fresh and vibrant.
Pistachio Cake with Orange Blossom Syrup
*Adapted from Bill Granger's "Best of Bill"
1 cup whole pistachios, peeled
6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 plain greek yoghurt
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup extra caster sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a 26 cm springform tin with baking paper. Process the pistachios until finely ground, then set aside.
2. Beat the egg yolks with half a cup of caster sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the yoghurt and oil, then sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt over the mixture and fold through with the pistachios.
3. Beat the egg whites until soft, fluffy peaks form, then gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar and beat until firm peaks form. Fold half the egg white mixture into the pistachio mixture, the fold in the other half. Pour into a tin and bake for 30 minutes or until springy in the centre and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
4. Meanwhile, put the extra sugar, juice, and water into a saucepan over a low heat and stir constantly until dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 10 minutes, then allow to cool slightly before adding the orange blossom water.
5. Remove cake from the tin, and spoon the syrup over it while it is still warm. Serve with figs.