As we pack our bags and get organize for our vacation, I want to tie up a few loose ends—such as a list of dessert ideas and inspirations that I wrote down throughout the year. Most have been tested and worked well. Others need a rethink.
For my last dessert post of the year, I want to offer what may be a high point. The inspiration comes from Lafayette’s pastry chef, Jennifer Yee, who created a cake of jasmine mousse apricots and almonds. One bite and I knew I had to recreate it with a spin.
This Pistachio Apricot Cake is my take. I use almost 3 cups of pistachios for holiday indulgence, apricot preserve and rum soaked dried apricots for a fruity zing. Instead of jasmine, and earl grey in the frosting for a hint of smokiness.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my desserts in 2014. To my followers, thanks for the continuing support and hope you’ve made a dessert or two or many. Have a wonderful holiday season and good health and prosperity in 2015.
PS: Follow me on Instagram to catch my adventures in Asia.
Pistachio Apricot Cake w Earl Grey Frosting
yiled: one 9-inch cake
Pistachio Apricot Cake
1-1/2 cups (about 9 ounces) dried Turkish apricots, diced
1/4 cup brandy or fresh orange juice
2-1/2 cups (15 ounces) raw pistachios, toasted
1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 large eggs, room temperature
2-1/2 cups (17-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1. Combine diced apricots and brandy in a bowl and let soak for 20 minutes.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300℉. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Combine pistachio, flour, salt, cardamom, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Add half of the mixture in food processor and pulse until pistachios are finely ground. Transfer ground pistachio mixture to another medium bowl. Repeat with remaining pistachio mixture, set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 3-4 minutes. With mixer running, reduce speed to medium, add melted butter and oil in steady stream, until incorporated. Add ground pistachio mixture in 4-5 additions until barely combined. Add apricots, soaking liquid and beat to combine, about 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
4. Bake until center of cake is set and bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan. Invert cake onto greased wire rack, discard parchment, and reinvert cake onto second wire rack. Let cake cool, about 2 hours. (Store cake in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
Earl Grey Frosting
3 large egg whites, room temperature1 cup (8 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea (used 3 teabags)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy & thick, but not peak.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, 1/4 cup Earl Grey tea & salt. Bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 242°F and all sugar is dissolved. Begin beating the egg whites again on medium-low speed and slowly pour boiling sugar syrup into egg whites in a slow steam. Increase speed to high and continue to beat for 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add remaining tea by the tablespoon until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Pistachio cake layers
Earl Grey Frosting
3/4 cup apricot preserve
1/4 cup ground pistachio (optional)
1. Trim and divide each cake layer horizontally into two equal layers. Place bottom layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup apricot preserve evenly on top follow by a thin layer of frosting. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Spread remaining frosting on top and side of cake. Decoratively sprinkle ground pistachio (if use). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minute. Serve immediately or refrigerate cake up to 2 days.