Sunday, November 16

Pistachio Cake Extravaganza

It's quite amazing to even attempt to make elaborate cake. It's like succeeding in putting hard puzzle together or completing difficult science project. At the end, the feeling is like finishing Tour de France, without doping...
This is exactly one of those cakes, and it taste even better than it looks!
Any great occasion recommended!
Mine, it was a birthday. With few weird characters, it doesn't have to look so serious as it is. Loved from 9 to 99...

This cake is quite original and so delicious:
A pistachio flavour base with bursts of pistachio ,
A Bavarian apricot containing small cream puffs pistachio ,
A meringue mousse with apricot, lightly flavoured with Amaretto.
Pistachio cream is that exquisite part. Almond is great, but pistachio is my winner! You can experiment...
Good to know: the pistachio powder can be replaced with ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts (both in the base and in the cream) and apricots may be replaced by other fruits. You can consider a hazelnut base with two chocolate Bavarian mousse and vanilla and puff, or vice versa. Everything changes once again.
Here I used canned apricots (see the season ...) I rinsed and drained before starting to make it.
Important: This cake gets better with the time. Prepare it the day ahead, and is even better the next day. It is easier to make than what it looks, just prepare puffs and pistachio cream simultaneously first.


For a start, find cake pan of  22 cm diameter with high sides (8.5 cm) (use baking cake pan).

Pistachio cake base :
2 eggs
70 g flour
50 g of powdered pistachios (blanched, unsalted)
70 g sugar
50 g milk
50 g of neutral oil (sunflower ...)
1 tsp of pistachio flavor (or bitter almond aroma)
5.5 g of baking powder (1/2 bag, 1tbsp)
30 g pistachios chopped into pieces (blanched, unsalted)

Puffs dough 
(you can double dosage if you want leftovers - they are so tasty especially with pistachio cream - don't forget to double that too) :

2 large eggs
50 g milk
75 g water
70 g flour
50 g butter, diced
10 g sugar
 pinch of salt

On puffs, depending on their size and  base cake size, you can put more into the cake, tight against each other. Originally, it should be eight for the cake and some for decoration at the top.

Pistachio cream (filling for puffs) :
(if you double puffs, double this as well, 
as cream is the best part of the cake)
2 tbsp butter, diced 
70 g sugar 
150 g of powdered pistachios (blanched, unsalted)
2 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue foam)
10 tbsp of full cream 
1 tbsp of cognac 
1 tbsp liquid vanilla extract

The Bavarian apricot mousse:
500 g of canned apricots (rinsed and drained) or peach if can’t find apricots
50 tbsp full cream 
150 g sugar 
12.5 g of gelatin (6 1/4 + 2 g leaves) (read instructions on your gelatine pack for 1/2 l of liquid : how much is recommended gelatin to mix in)
2 tbsp lemon juice squeezed
15 g of icing sugar

The Meringue mousse with Amaretto apricots :
2 large egg whites 
120 g sugar 
0.5 dl water 
2 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
130 g canned apricots (drained and rinsed)
5 g Gelatine (2 g 2 sheets)


Prepare the puffs:
Sift the flour and set aside. In a saucepan, bring water, milk, sugar, salt and diced butter to a boil. Pour in sifted flour, stir with a wooden spatula over low heat for 2 minutes, until the dough pulls away many times and forms a ball.  Throw the dough in a bowl and let cool completely. Meantime preheat oven to 180 ° C. Add an egg into the chilled dough and mix vigorously with a wooden spatula. Once the egg well integrate, repeat the same operation with the second egg. Fill a pastry bag and make at least 12 little dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them well. Bake at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Prepare the pistachio cream:
 In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool completely.  In a bowl, work the butter to soft into cream consistency with a wooden spatula. Then add the sugar, vanilla extract and egg yolks one at a time, mixing between each. It has to be creamy. Stir slowly and alternately add 1 tbsp liquid cooled cream and 1 tbsp pistachio powder, stirring well after each. And proceed until all the ingredients are used. Then add  brandy and mix well. 
Fill a piping bag with pistachio cream, drill baked puffs on their top (not below) and fill with a the cream. (Be careful to fill them completely, not half. On 12 puffs, it makes sense to leave 4 for decoration (or more if you made it).

Prepare the base pistachio cake:
Preheat oven to 180 ° C. Butter and flour a cake round pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar until they turn white and foamy. Gradually add the milk and oil while whisking. Sift over the flour and baking powder, whisk again. Then add the powdered pistachios and pistachio chips, whisk until homogeneous.
Pour into buttered and floured pan and bake at 180 ° C for 15 to 20 minutes (the knife should come out clean) . Cool in pan then turn out upside down on a serving cake plate. 

Prepare the Bavarian apricots:
For 10 minutes soak gelatin in cold water or if you are using powdered gelatine prepare according to instructions. Mix the apricots (rinsed) and well drained with lemon juice. Stir in the sugar, and heat without boiling (microwave or pan). Add the prepared gelatine, stir and let cool completely (to speed up the process, you can soak the pan or bowl in a pan of cold water ).
Mix whipped cream with the icing sugar, incorporate delicately apricot puree cooled, using a spatula, lifting the mix to get homogeneous mass.
1/4 of the mixture spread over the base pistachio, in the circle, planting pistachio cream puffs in circle, puffs are placed tight then pour the remaining mixture on top. (it’s ok if the mixture does not cover certain puffs). Refrigerate 2 hours .

Prepare the Meringue mousse & apricot amaretto:
For 10 minutes soak gelatin in cold water. Mix apricots, drained and rinsed with amaretto puree. Heat without boiling (microwave or pan), add the squeezed out (prepared )gelatine, stir and set aside. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff . Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil at 116 ° C with mixing. Immediately remove from heat and drizzle over egg whites, beating at high speed. Continue to whisk until firm. The meringue should be smooth and shiny. Pour in bowl with puree apricots and mix well, leave until completely cooled. 

Pour over apricots Bavarian cream, as a second cream, smooth and refrigerate for 1 night .

Recap of assembling the cake:
Bake base pistachio cake 

Thin Layer of Bavarian mousse spread over the cake

Place filled puffs over the mousse

Layer of left Bavarian mousse to fill inbetween the puffs


Spread second mousse over


Deco & Service:
 The next day, sprinkle the surface of cake with chopped pistachios; decorate the few remaining empty puff sprouts and sprinkle with icing sugar. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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