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Thursday, July 13, 2006
An afternoon in Casablanca - Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup

From Bill Granger's Simply bill (page 221)

Remember, a few days ago I was wondering about how to use the tons of apricots from my backyard.
I got some lovely ideas from Joycelyn: slow roasted apricots in orange caramel; from Melissa: chilled apricot soup with Muscat and from Estelle: tarte renversée aux abricots et au sucre muscovado.
These recipes sound good for sure, but I didn't have le coup de foudre you need to have when discovering a recipe for the first time.

Then I completely forgot about apricots and decided to just have them fresh from the tree or in a chilled drink.
That's only when I started browsing for a pistachio cake recipe through my cookbooks that I found the best way to use these apricots for a sophisticated dessert – pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup.

The recipe originally calls for fresh figs. But figs aren't available yet here. Though, I was determined to make this cake with or without the figs.

Aren't pistachio and apricots known for being a winner combination? I had find: 1) a recipe to use the apricots I had been stocking and 2) a substitute for the figs.

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
This cake reminds me of lazy afternoon spent on a charming terrace in Rabat, drinking delicious thé à la menthe and tons of homemade patisseries.
The breeze, the sea, the perfumes... are set back in my mind at each bite. These days are one of the best I've had and thus this cake is high-placed on my top-ten favourites.
It's definitely airy and all the flavours go so well together: pistachio, apricot and orange blossom. In one word, the Moroccan essence!

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
serves 10

140g shelled pistachios
6 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
185g yoghurt
125ml light-flavoured oil (fanny: i used 100ml canola oil and 25ml extra virgin olive oil)
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
Finely grind the pistachios in a food processor.
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the yogurt and oil. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold. Add the ground pistachios.
In a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually add the remaining sugar until very firm and glossy. Gently fold into the cake mixture.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Leave to cool completely in the tin and unmould. Serve with the orange blossom syrup and the roasted apricots.

for the orange blossom syrup
225g caster sugar
125ml freshly squeezed orange juice
125ml water
1 tsp orange blossom water

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy.

for the roasted apricots (adapted from Claudia Fleming's Roasted apricots with camomile)
10 apricots, halved and pitted
orange blossom syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sieve the syrup into a roasting tray. Place the apricots in the syrup, cut side down, then roast for about 10 minutes. Turn them over, baste with the syrup and roast for another 5 minutes. Keep aside both the apricots and the syrup.

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20 sweets:
Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

Je suis toujours autant impressionnée par la qualité de tes photos !!!!!

13 July, 2006 13:32 

Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said something sweet:

Une superbe photo et un cake qui a vraiment l'air appétissant¨...

13 July, 2006 14:45 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

Oh my... Moi je l'ai le coup de foudre !! La recette + la photo et me voilà avec des envies d'escapade à Casablanca !

13 July, 2006 15:23 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

This is a spectacular use of apricots! I love the idea of combining them with pistachio cake, and yours looks absolutely gorgeous. The recipe's been bookmarked!

13 July, 2006 19:16 

Blogger Alhya said something sweet:

la photo est en elle même un appel au voyage et j'imagine à peine ce que doit être quand on plante ses dents dans une part de cake de cette nature!!

13 July, 2006 20:39 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

I just wanted to let you know that I followed this recipe and brought the pistachio cake to a weekly meeting, and before we got through our first order of business it was gone. I'm sure they'll be calling for a repeat next month, too!

13 July, 2006 20:47 

Blogger Joycelyn said something sweet:

hi fanny, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! in your expert and creative hands, of course, those lovely apricots couldn't have expected any less a fate!

13 July, 2006 21:13 

Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said something sweet:

Oh my goodness! That photo looks amazing! The pistachio sounds absolutely scrumptious as well, and what an inspired combo with the apricots too.

14 July, 2006 03:16 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

hi fanny,
The cake really does look delicious, it's 9 o'clock in Holland, and this looks pretty good to have for my breakfast....yum yum yum(!)
But this isn't why i'm posting; I really love your blog and your pictures, and I plan to make my own blog petty soon - I have enough, ehum OK: too many, ideas and recipes but I have a lousy camera. - I want to buy a new one, but i have absolutely no clue which i'm supposed to buy...what kind of camera do you have??

14 July, 2006 09:25 

Blogger sooishi said something sweet:

C'est vraiment une très apétissante interprétation de la recette de base!!
Avec des abricots, je craque:)

Je VAIS l'essayer, merci merci merci

Et c'est ou la photo? c'est très beau ce fond bleuté...haa...les vacances...


14 July, 2006 09:39 

Blogger David said something sweet:

Lovely cake...hope there was some leftovers for your Bastille Day fête!

14 July, 2006 19:43 

Blogger geneve said something sweet:

I love apricots and this recipe is a great application for them! I haven't used orange blossom water before - does it have a strong essence? I saw it at my local market but haven't had a good enough reason to buy it - this recipe might be though! ;)

15 July, 2006 07:30 

Blogger Jen said something sweet:

I have been looking for something to do with my pistachios, this looks like the perfect thing! Thanks fanny.

15 July, 2006 16:41 

Blogger :: Pastry Girl :: said something sweet:

simply looks great! so cool over at France to hv a backyard where u can plant yr own fruits. In Singapore it's rather different to get fresh apricots. Except those canned ones.

15 July, 2006 17:40 

Blogger Elodie said something sweet:

Oh, c'est irrésistible !
Je vais l'essayer !

15 July, 2006 22:33 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

hi, can i use only olive oil instead of a mixture of two oils?

16 July, 2006 18:42 

Blogger *fanny* said something sweet:

Merci Laudy et Rosa.

Framboise - c’est exactement ce que j’ai ressenti en découvranbt la photo dans le livre de Bill Granger.

Melissa - i do think that the apricots work really well with the pistachios.

Alhya - c’est divin et ça m’a emporté très loin dans mes souvenirs.

Zhonghuarising - thanx for dropping by and for all your nice comments. I can imagine they liked it, it’s been the same at home.

J - thank you so much for your kind words. I still keep in mind your gorgeous olive oil and sauternes cake though.

Helen - thanx thanx thanx.

Julia - I really encourage you to start foodblogging. It’s been such a great experience for me. As for the camera, I own a SLR. These are quite expensive but really worth the buy. Good cameras are Nikon D50 and D70 or like mine, Sony Cybershot DSCF828.

Ooishi - la photo c’est chez mon chéri. Au bord de la piscine...
David - thanx for dropping by. Sadly there was NO leftovers!!!

Geneve - orange blossom water isn’t really strong. Its flavour is quite unusual but here it’s really common. I am used to drink a mug of orange blossom water (1tsp) with hot water before going to bed and I love it. Anyway, I think it keeps well.

Jen - I think we were in the same situation then. Lots of pistachios and looking for something to use them!

Lavender cupcaker (sweet name by the way) - I reckon canned one would work well to because the recipe calls for roasted ones. And I think that canned apricots roast wonderfully.

Elodie - fonce, c’est trop bon!

Snowy - i’m sure using only olive oil would really add something to the cake and i’m considering doing this the next time i’ll make this cake. The only thing is that you have to look for lightly-flavoured olive oil or it’ll be overpowering.


16 July, 2006 20:51 

Blogger Unknown said something sweet:

hi! i just came across your blog when i was searching for a casablanca cake recipe, the cake that my mum used to make for a special occasion. but it seems that people, even in my home country, don't make it anymore, or it's just possible written under a different name. however, i'm very glad i've found yours. your cake looks delicious! cheers!

03 October, 2006 17:07 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

Bonjour Fanny. Est-ce que tu sais si je peux utilizer "orange blossom water" pour un medicament? J'ai entendu que c'est bonne si on est stresse. Quest que tu pense de cela? (Pardonnez mon mauvais francais.)

15 December, 2006 02:59 

Blogger *fanny* said something sweet:

Hi Phyllis - si tu es stressée tu decrais aller chez le médecin. Mais tu peux mettre une cuillère à thé de orange blossom water dans de l'eau bouillante avec un peu de miel pour bien dormir.

- fanny

15 December, 2006 09:43 

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