My assignment this past Wednesday was dessert. I love when I have to make dessert because I get to experiment with stuff that I would not normally make, except for a holiday celebration.
Every day is a celebration of sorts, don’t you think?
In homage to my Ireland trip, I wanted to make something with a bit of green… pistachios! So, I embarked on a hunt for a recipe using this shelled jewel and found a perfect contender in the April 2012 edition of Better Homes and Gardens.
The cake, Pistachio Honey Cake with Berries and Cream, was in an article called “Honey Do!” that featured using honey in recipes, so the pistachios are the best friend in this recipe while honey is the leading lady. This best friend/leading lady notion is from one of my favorite movies ever – The Holiday – Arthur, a retired Hollywood script writer, says to his visiting and broken hearted neighbor, Iris, “Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.” To which Iris replies, “You're so right, Arthur. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake!”
Enough movie therapy.
The various flavors – sweet, crunchy, creamy, tart – blend so nicely in this cake that is subtle and satisfying and sure to become a new go-to favorite!
“To measure honey, coat the measuring cup or spoon with nonstick spray. The honey will slide right out.” BH&G, April 2012
Pistachio Honey Cake with Berries and Cream
For the cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
¼ cup of pistachio nuts, ground (set some aside to sprinkle on the served cake)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened (I used Irish cream butter!)
¾ cup of honey
½ cup milk
2 Tablespoons orange juice
For the topping
½ cup mascarpone cheese, chilled or cream cheese softened
1 cup of whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of honey
1 pint of strawberries, sliced (raspberries would be nice too)
1. Preheat oven 325°. Butter a 9x1 ½ inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, ground pistachios, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, beat butter with mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add ½ cup of honey, beat for 3 minutes, until fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs, one at a time. Add ¾ of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add milk and the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove cake from pan.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat the remaining honey and orange juice, whisking to combine. Poke holes in cake with a toothpick and brush the honey/OJ mixture on top.
5. For the topping, whip the mascarpone cheese for 30 seconds, add cream and 2 Tbsp. of honey and beat to form soft mounds. Refrigerate.
6. When ready to serve the cake, spoon some cream topping on each cake slice, sprinkle some pistachios, drizzle some honey and top with a sliced strawberry.