Pistachio Success

My sister Jannah’s favourite cake of all time.  Not that it’s at all cakey – it’s meringue really.  When mum was in hospital, I was very nervous about making it for Jay’s birthday (desserts not being my forte, having NEVER made a meringue before and mum does it so perfectly every time) however turned out to be a walk in the park!

Ingredients

220g Shelled pistachios, lightly toasted & finely grated/ roughly ground

1 c Icing’ sugar

8 Egg whites; room temperature

1 pinch Cream of tartar

1 c castor sugar

CHOCOLATE CREAM ———

1/2 c thickened cream

1 3/4 c Cocoa powder

3 1/2 tbsp Icing sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 120c.
Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper and trace a 10-inch circle onto each piece of parchment.
Add the grate/ground toasted pistachios into a bowl.
Sift in 3/4 cup of the icing’ sugar and toss to mix thoroughly.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed until foamy, about 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to high and beat until the whites nearly double in volume and stiff peaks form.
Gradually beat in the castor sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Beat until the whites are dense and glossy and form stiff peaks.
With a large rubber spatula, lightly fold in the nut mixture until no white streaks remain.
Use a tiny amount of the nut meringue to anchor the corners of the parchment to the baking sheet.
Spoon 1/3 of the meringue onto one of the circles and, with a thin metal spatula, spread into an even layer to fill the circle.
Form a 2nd circle and 3rd circles with the remaining meringue on the other baking sheets.
Bake the meringue in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching positions once, for approximately 1 to 1-1/2   hours.

Do not open the door, switch oven off and leave in the oven overnight.
The amount of time it takes to dry out will depend on the humidity of the day.

 

Make the cream

1.   In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar.

2.   In a chilled bowl, combine the cream and vanilla and whip until soft peaks form.

3.   With the mixer running or while whisking by hand, gradually pour in the cocoa mixture; whip until well blended.

Let meringue cool to room temperature.
(The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead.)

Wrap the meringue layers, with the parchment still attached to the bottom (for stability), in a large sheet of foil to seal.

TO ASSEMBLE:
Peel off the parchment paper from the meringue layers.
Set each layer on a flat surface and spread evenly with 1/3 of the cream.
Place the second layer, flat-side up, on top of the cream and press gently.

Repeat with the final layer
To decorate, sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the cake and sift the remaining 1/4 cup icing’ sugar evenly over the top or use stencils to create a design.
Refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours to firm up.
Serve chilled.

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