22 March 2014

Nostalgia and a Pistachio Tea Cake

The other day while on a longish subway ride from Brooklyn to the upper east side, I kept myself preoccupied thumbing through the new bi-monthly incarnation of New York magazine. When I first moved to the City, my dear friend Garland gave me a two year subscription to the magazine as one of the best housewarming/welcome-to-your-new city gifts. This was back in 2001. Over a decade later, the magazine has undergone editorial and ownership changes and as such has gone through a number of layout switcharoos. Basically however, thumbing through the glossy Vanity Fair-esque articles, arts and restaurant reviews, and New York zeitgeist-esque commentary, still brings me back to my early days in the City when all five boroughs felt like an adventure laid out for me with the magazine as a sort of partial road map.

I was on my way back downtown when I came across a short paragraph describing a new outpost of Rose Bakery

I discovered the original Rose Bakery in 2009 when I spent a month in Paris, living in the 9th arrondissement down the street from the "British-themed" cafe and bakery. So with nostalgia welling up in me again I paid a visit to the New York bakery. The overall look and feel of the place is completely different, perhaps more New York than Paris, but the important elements are still present -- namely the tarts, the muffins, the straightforward juices, and the tea cakes. 

I searched for my favorite pistachio cake, but the day I was there it was no where to be found. So in homage to Rose and Jean-Charles Carrarini I headed to the Nut Box to purchase some pistachios in bulk and set about making my own cake. 

My version, as you can tell from the photos, was a little soft on the interior. I'd already cooked the cake 15 minutes beyond the prescribed 40 minutes and was stressing out a bit over the prospect of overcooking the cake (even bulk pistachios being pricey!). I was pretty satisfied with even the soft interior portion of the cake, which was a bit like a pistachio souffle surrounded by cake, but I suggest you watch and test your cake often once its been cooking for 35 minutes. 
Pistachio Tea Cake
Adapted from Rose Bakery

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup ground pistachios
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1/3 cup whole pistachios
1/4 cup granulated sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 10 inch loaf tin and then line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla extract, and then the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in the ground almonds and pistachios, flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 40-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before removing the cake.

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan heat the pistachios, sugar and lemon zest and juice in a until the sugar has melted entirely. pour over the cake.

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