one of my smiliest moments as a jewish transplant in this predominantly scandinavian town has been seeing my norwegian future family-in-law incorporate the word nosh into their vocabulary. many little snacks have been enjoyed over conversation and etymology lessons about the word nosh, and to see the egg family realize that there is a name for this thing they so love to do is satisfying in the most jewish motherly way. i squeal every time the egg dad knocks on our door, asking if he can come in for a nosh (he keeps a jar of unsalted peanuts in our house for when there's no time to walk all the way across the street to his house). hehe.
noshing might be my favorite way to enjoy a cake. i get so much more joy out of having one itsy bitsy sliver every hour or so than i do having a large piece after a meal or with afternoon tea. the calories seem way less significant that way too. there are currently four half-eaten cakes floating around my kitchen, and probably twice that in my freezer, so a lot of varied cake noshing gets done around these parts.
recently i've found myself going back over and over to the same cake--neglecting pumpkin cake and sprinkle cake even--to this pistachio beauty from jessica's book, seriously delish! it's a sturdy nutty creature filled with tangy mascarpone and covered in thick ganache. it was a huge hit at my brunch club this weekend, and luckily there were leftovers for me to... nosh on. making it commands nothing in the way of decorating skills because in its purest form--chocolate on top of cake on top of mascarpone on top of cake--it is a delicious thing of beauty.
ok and can you guys just let me gush about this cookbook for a second though?
i honestly don't remember the last time i stayed up so late reading a book. i mean, i like reading and i do it a lot, but in bed, when sleep is looming, i usually just conk out and ideally dream about fluffy puppies. but then when jessica's book arrived the other day, i tore into it like it was going out of style (it's not gonna) and i did not stop until well past midnight, which in my grandma-esque mind is pretty much nearly sun up.
jessica's fun and lovable personality, which has made her blog one of the happiest places on the internet, has taken on physical form in this book and there are so many recipes that i can't wait to try: baked breakfast risotto, chicken pitas with jalapeño whipped feta & quick tzatziki, whole wheat blueberry bundt cake, and a handful of outrageous grilled cheeses. having this book on my shelf has made my kitchen even brighter.
pistachio cream cake with chocolate ganache
from jessica merchant's seriously delish
1 1/3 c unsalted pistachios
1 1/3 c cake flour
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c whole milk
2/3 c mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tb unsalted butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp whole milk
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c heavy cream
1. preheat the oven to 350f. spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray*. cut a round sheet of parchment paper, place on the bottom of each pan, and spray once more with nonstick spray. set them aside.
*i made this with two 6-inch pans and my new favorite (mini cake!) pan and it worked marvelously.
2. add 1 cup of the pistachios to a food processor and pulse and blend until very small crumbs remain. measure out 1/4 cup of the crumbs and set them aside for the filling. place the remaining crumbs in a bowl. in a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
3. in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition. add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute. add the pistachio crumbs, beating on medium speed until incorporated. with the mixer on low speed, gradually add in half of the dry ingredients. add the milk, mixing until combined. add the remaining dry ingredients and beat on medium until the batter comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
4. scoop the batter equally into the greased and lined cake pans. bake the cakes until the tops are golden brown and set, 25 to 30 minutes. remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool for 20 minutes in the pans, then invert the pans and remove the cakes. let them cool completely on a wire rack.
5. for the filling, beat the mascarpone and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed until creamy. add the reserved crushed pistachios, beating until combined, then adjust the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. add the milk and beat the filling for 1 to 2 minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
6. place one of the cakes on a plate or stand. spread the filling evenly over the top of the cake, then place the other cake on top of the filling.
7. for the ganache, add the chocolate to a large bowl. heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles around the edges. remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. let the chocolate stand for 30 seconds, then stir continuously until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, 1 to 2 minutes. pour the ganache over the cake.
8. chop the remaining 1/3 cup of pistachios coarsely and sprinkle them over the cake.
9. this cake will stay fresh for 1 to 2 days if kept at room temperature and wrapped in plastic wrap or covered with a cake dome. i like to keep it in the fridge, where it will keep for an additional 2 to 3 days.
and lastly, i'm giving away a copy of seriously delish! (this giveaway is open to u.s. residents only, i'm sorry!!) to enter, leave a comment with the last thing you ate that was... seriously delish :)
update 9/12/14: this giveaway is now closed.