here is the pistachio cardamom cake adapted from moosewood (obviously. do i have any other cookbooks?)
but first, because you know how i feel about nutritional information and food factoids, i would like to share the following neat ones about pitachios:
- in a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University's Department of Nutrition and Sciences, pistachios were found to seriously reduce the levels of LDL ("bad cholestorol") in the blood. according to wikipedia, anyway.
- pistachios, in nature, have beige shells. however, many were commercially dyed red or green to hide stains on the shells when the nuts were still picked by hand. in our new modern world, most pistachios are harvested by machine, making the dyeing unnecessary. BUT roastsed pistachios can be turned red if they are marinated in salt and strawberry marinade prior to roastage.
- pistachio trees are hearty, and can survive in temperatures ranging from -10 C o 40C
- this one has to be a quote.... "pistachio nuts are highly flammable when stored in large quantities, and are prone to to self heating and spontaneous combustion". thank you, wikipedia. and now, we are ready.
set the oven to 350 and butter a 7 x 11 inch baking dish
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperate
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semolina
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, plus 12 whole pistachios
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
for the syrup:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
cream the butter and sugar. add the eggs one at a time, until creamy after every additio. then vanilla.
get another bowl, combine semolina, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt. grind the 1/2 cup pistachios in a food processor of some sort (magic bullet? or, coffee grinder/etc) until it becomes a course meal (we're not going for nut butters here, so careful not to overgrind. some chunks are welcome additions to this dense little number). add it to the dry ingredients. then in alternating batche, add the yogurt and dry ingredients to the creamy butter sugar deliciousness, beating well, until it is smooth.
put the batter in the pan, and bake for 30 minutes until a knife in the center comes out clean as a whistle.
while the cake is a bakin, combine water, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil, let boil rapidly for about 2 minutes, then set aside.
cut the cake so that it forms 12 triangular pieces, pour the syrup over the cake and press one whole pistachio into the center of each triangle.