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Pistachios highlight Mediterranean custom
While traveling in France and Tunisia the last 10 days, I have experimented with several recipes both in restaurants and with my sisters, who are great cooks. What I have realized once again is the simplicity that accompanies the preparation of each dish due to the freshness of the ingredients.
Most brasseries or bistros offer a plate with fish, meat or poultry with spinach and roasted potatoes cooked to perfection. The meat part is the freshest you can taste and makes the experience entirely genuine.
With my sisters, the astonishment is to witness their flexibility in moving from Italian to French or oriental cuisine effortlessly. For Mother's Day, they prepared a family-style luncheon that lasted several hours and included an array of grilled sea bass, lasagna Bolognese, filo dough frittata and several other delightful dishes.
Generally, in Mediterranean countries, the use of nuts for pastries is quite popular, ranging from baklava to almost any dessert. For this Pistachio Cake recipe, you can substitute any desired nuts for the pistachios. The result will be similar.
I will return home this week with some new inspiring recipes and will be sharing them with you at Café Collage in the coming weeks.
6 eggs, beaten until smooth
1 cup local honey mixed with a touch of hot water
6 ounces melted butter (be cautious not to burn it, or the final taste will be affected)
1 tablespoon rose water (found in most specialty stores)
1 pound unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and chopped finely, divided use
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use an 8- to 10-inch shallow pie or cake pan. Line the pan with waxed baking paper and butter it evenly.
Combine all the ingredients together except for 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios and whisk for five minutes, until well blended. Prepare a larger baking pan with 1 inch of cold water for a bain Marie (or water bath). Place it in the oven. The smaller baking pan for the pistachio cake should fit comfortably inside the larger pan. Put the smaller baking pan inside the larger pan. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the smaller baking pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Often the bottom will not bake thoroughly. If so, remove the cake from the larger pan and bake it on its own for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Now comes the delicate part. Place a large flat plate or a large cutting board over the cake pan and, holding the pan and plate firmly together, invert the pan and lift it off. Practice the move few times before inverting the pan. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of chopped pistachios over the top of the cake.
The cake will gradually harden as it cools. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or simply a touch of strawberry sauce.