Pistachio Cakes With Lemon Cream 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dec 25, 2013

At Osteria Morini, these not-overly sweet little cakes are served in savarin molds and garnished with crème fraîche sorbetto, meringue kisses, blood-orange sauce, Medjool dates and a confit of Buddha's hands.

You can use almond flour rather than the harder-to-find pistachio flour. Pistachio flour can be purchased at high-end grocery stores or online at www.nuts.com. Pistachio paste is also available via www.nuts.com

Make Ahead: The little cakes can be made and refrigerated a day in advance. They can be frozen for up to 1 week; place them in a container, then seal the container and wrap it in plastic wrap to make it airtight. Bring the cupcakes to room temperature before serving. The lemon cream can be made an hour or two in advance and refrigerated. The fruit can be prepared a day or two in advance and refrigerated.

12 cakes

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 cakes

  • For the fruit
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 or 3 of the following fruits (preferably a combination): Cara Cara oranges, blood oranges, navel or blood oranges, ruby red grapefruit or satsuma mandarin oranges
  • For the cakes
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 cups pistachio flour (see headnote; may substitute almond flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or fleur de sel
  • 1/2 cup pistachio paste (see headnote)
  • For the lemon cream
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • For serving
  • Plain or vanilla frozen yogurt


For the fruit: Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, slice off the bottom and the top of each piece of fruit. Stand the fruit on a cutting board with one of the cut sides down. Use a serrated knife to cut the peel and the pith away from the fruit, top to bottom, exposing the flesh. Then, holding the fruit in your hand, cut the citrus segments away from the membrane. (The idea is to leave behind all of the membrane and white pith.)

Add the citrus segments to the syrup, tossing to coat them all. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with paper or foil baking liners. Spray the insides of the liners with cooking spray.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low, then medium speed until lightened and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate after each addition. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Combine the flours and salt on a sheet of parchment or wax paper; add all at once to the bowl. Beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Stir in the pistachio paste by hand until well blended. Divide the batter evenly among the baking liners. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through. The tops will be firm and browned. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

For the lemon cream: Combine the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a medium-size deep bowl. Use a balloon whisk to whisk until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the lemon zest.

When you're ready to serve, peel off and discard the baking liners from the cakes. Place one cake on each plate. Pipe a rosette or spoon a dollop of the lemon cream on top. Drain the fruit sections, reserving the syrup for another use, if desired. Arrange the fruit sections decoratively alongside each cake, along with a small scoop of frozen yogurt. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

From Alex Levin, pastry chef at Osteria Morini in the District.

Tested by Vanessa Williams.

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