If you've read this blog for some time, you must know how much I love to work with recipes where the focus is on the fruit of the season. My first foray of baking with fruit began with Isidora Popovic's 'Popina Book of Baking'. My very first recipe on this blog came from that book. I was absolutely taken in by how the fruit added so much more to the flavour and freshness of my bakes.
I, then followed it up with Nigel Slater's 'Ripe : A Cook in the Orchard', a book that opened up a collection of recipes that paired fruit in sweet as well as savoury dishes. And my latest addition to this small collection is Yossy Arefi's 'Sweeter off the Vine'. Yossy is the voice behind the blog, 'Apt. 2B Baking Co'. I adore everything about this Brooklyn based baker and photographer's blog..the recipes, the photography and now I'm completely taken in with her book. If you enjoy baking and somehow, haven't yet discovered her blog, I'd seriously recommend it.
The season of fruits in India may differ from those in these books but each of the books mentioned above always has space for recipes that work with strawberries, the fruit currently in season. Out of all of the book's recipes with strawberries, I zeroed in on the pistachio pound cake that is paired with strawberries and cream. I do have my eye on the strawberry and campari ice pops but those will have to wait for the weather to get a bit warmer.
I was intrigued by the pistachio pound cake. I have used almond meal in my cakes and have loved the depth and richness that it has given my cakes but have never worked with pistachios. And what an absolute delight this pound cake was.
Who doesn't love a good, hearty pound cake and the pistachios give it that something extra to stand apart from your regular pound cake. You can taste the pistachios but it is not overpowering at all. It just adds a lil something special to the wholesomeness of a pound cake.
The recipe pairs thick slices of this cake with strawberries macerated in a lavender sugar and cream. While the idea of lavender sugar had me really excited, unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on it out here. So, I adapted by macerating the strawberries in vanilla and some liqueur.
Serving strawberries and cream with this cake immediately elevates it as an elegant dessert. However, if you don't want to serve it with strawberries and cream, I assure you that pound cake, warm out of the oven, with a cup of tea is still a winner.
Hope you all had a lovely weekend..xx!
Pistachio Pound Cake With Strawberries and Cream
Recipe : Yossy Arefi's 'Sweeter Off The Vine', minimally adapted
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf cake*.
- 1 cup (130 gms) shelled pistachios
- 1 1/2 cups (195 gms) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups (250 gms) demerara sugar (you can use regular white sugar)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120 mls) whole milk, at room temperature
- For strawberries:
- 650 gms strawberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, or less if your berries are sweet
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped from the pod
- 1 tablespoon of chopped mint (optional)
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 165 deg C. Grease and dust a 9x5x3-inch loaf tin.
- To make the cake : Grind the pistachios in a food processor just until they resemble flour. I used the 'pulse' function of my food processor. Be careful to not grind the pistachios too long, else you will have pistachio butter.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until combined.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium high speed until smooth, then, with the mixer still running, slowly stream in the sugar.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Occasionally stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the batter in the three additions, mixing until just combined. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake to a rack to cool completely.
- To make the strawberries : Hull and slice the strawberries. Combine the strawberries with the sugar and vanilla seeds in a bowl and stir gently. Let the berries macerate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Tip: You can also add a tablespoon or two of your favourite liqueur such as limoncello or orange liqueur to the strawberries.
- To serve: Slice the cooled cake into thick pieces and top each slice with a generous spoonful of berries and their juices. Top with whipped cream.