Christopher Villano
Pistachio Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream & Green Cardamom Kulfi
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Pistachio Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream & Green Cardamom Kulfi

Surbhi Sahni, Tulsi / June 2011

For 16 servings (requires advance preparation)

Pistachio sponge cake:
• nonstick cooking spray
• 2 1/3 cups cake flour
• 2 1/3 tsps. baking powder
• 1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
• 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
• 5 lg. egg yolks
• 1/4 cup pistachio paste
• 1/4 cup pistachios, very finely ground
• 6 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. canola oil
• 2/3 cup whole milk
• 5 lg. egg whites
• 1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Spritz baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper; reserve.

  3. Sift cake flour and baking powder into a bowl 3 times; reserve.

  4. Place chopped nuts and all-purpose flour in small bowl; mix well; reserve.

  5. Place sugar, egg yolks, paste, and ground pistachios in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment; increase speed to high; whisk 15 minutes.

  6. Scrape down sides of the bowl with rubber spatula; add oil; whisk 1 minute; scrape down sides of the bowl; add reserved flour mixture; add milk; mix on low speed until just incorporated; increase speed to high; whisk 5 minutes; place in clean bowl; reserve.

  7. Place egg whites in clean bowl of electric mixer fitted with clean whisk attachment; whisk on medium speed until frothy; add salt; increase speed to high; whisk to soft peaks; mix in a small amount of meringue to batter to lighten; fold in remaining meringue into batter, being careful not to overmix; gently fold in reserved chopped nuts.

  8. Spread batter evenly into reserved baking sheet; bake 7 minutes; turn baking sheet 180°; bake until edges are brown and cake springs back when gently pressed in the center (about 7 minutes); remove from oven; cool; place sheet of parchment paper on top; envelop tightly with plastic wrap; place in refrigerator; reserve overnight.

  9. Remove plastic wrap and parchment paper (skin of sponge cake should come off with parchment); remove from pan; remove parchment paper from bottom of cake; cut out into rounds with 2 1/2" cookie cutter; envelop in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Passion fruit buttercream:
• 1/4 cup passion fruit puree
• 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsps. granulated sugar
• 2 lg. eggs
• .18 oz. sheets gelatin, bloomed in cold water
• 14 Tbsps. unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Place puree and sugar in heatproof bowl; place on top of a pot of simmering water; heat, whisking, until sugar has melted; whisk in eggs; cook, whisking briskly, until mixture has thickened to sour cream consistency (5 to 7 minutes); remove from heat; reserve.

  2. Remove gelatin from water; squeeze out excess water; place in clean bowl; pour 1/4 hot passion fruit mixture over gelatin; mix well; pour into remaining passion fruit mixture in pot; cool slightly; gradually add butter in pieces, mixing with hand blender until fully combined before adding more; beat well.

  3. Place buttercream in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.

Green cardamom kulfi:
• 2 3/4 cups heavy cream
• 2 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
• 9 oz. evaporated milk
• 3 1/2 oz. condensed milk

  1. Bring cream, whole milk, sugar, and cardamom pods to a boil in heavy-bottomed saucepan; reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes with wooden spoon, scraping bottom and sides of pan to avoid burning, until reduced by half (about 2 hours).

  2. Add evaporated and condensed milks to cream mixture; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring every few minutes, until reduced to about 4 cups (about 1 hour); remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into a bowl; cover with plastic wrap; perforate plastic with a knife to let steam escape and prevent skin from forming; cool.

  3. Blend with hand blender; pour into fleximolds in desired shape; cover with plastic wrap; freeze 8 hours.

Assembly:
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 tsp. saffron, toasted
• crispy tuiles (for serving)

  1. Bring 2 cups water, sugar, and saffron to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat; cool completely; reserve.

  2. Remove cake rounds from refrigerator; dip top side of each round into saffron syrup; fill piping bag set with round tip with buttercream; pipe small amount onto 1/4 of rounds; top with another round of cake; repeat with remaining cake rounds and buttercream until you have 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of buttercream; place on baking sheets; refrigerate 20 minutes.

  3. To serve, place a cake on each serving plate; place quenelle of kulfi to one side; drizzle saffron syrup around; place tuile on top of kulfi.

What to drink: Indian Summer: Shake 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. elderflower liqueur, 1 tsp. citrus fruit (such as orange, lemon, and lime, chopped with peel intact), 2 oz. lychee juice, and a dash of Key lime juice in a shaker filled with ice; strain into chilled Martini glass; top with a splash of club soda; garnish with a lychee nut.