Pistachio Semolina Cake
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, Silver Lake
This rose, cardamom, and orange-scented pistachio cake is redolent with the flavors of the Middle East. Nut flours keep it moist, and semolina keeps it light.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Rose waters vary in intensity, so add it to the syrup 1 teaspoon at a time, taste, and continue. For a stronger citrus taste, simply add 1 teaspoon of zest to the glaze. Nut flour gets stale so quickly that it is best to grind it yourself in a food processor. I find it helpful to chill the blade and add a few spoonfuls of the sugar to the processor. Use the pulse button, as you don’t want to end up with nut butter. This cake may be made a day in advance and stored, covered, at room temperature.
1 1/3 cups butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rose water
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 1/3 cups semolina flour
2 cups ground pistachios plus 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder\
2 tablespoons sanding sugar
CARDAMOM ROSE WATER SYRUP
1/3 cup freshly squeezed tangerine, clementine, or orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon rose water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until pale with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, rose water, and orange zest and juice and beat to fully integrate.
Combine the semolina, ground pistachios, almond flour, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Top the batter with the chopped pistachios and sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes before transferring to the oven and baking for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the tip of a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the cardamom rose water syrup by combining the juice, sugar, and cardamom in a saucepan over low heat. Stir to the dissolve the sugar and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then stir in the rose water to combine. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the cardamom pods.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour on half of the syrup. Wait 15 minutes for the cake to absorb it and then repeat again if serving immediately. If serving later in the day, wait to give the cake its final dose of syrup until just before serving. The cake may be served straight from the pan or inverted onto a serving plate.
Reprinted with permission from Eat. Cook. L.A. by Aleksandra Crapanzano, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Ray Kachatorian. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.
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