We are down to the last week and a half of filming season 2 and I miss it already! I love this crew so much. Right now they’re in my kitchen filming a conga line gif of sprinkly rice krispies treats and it is the silliest. The past few days have been warm enough for us to sit outside and eat lunch together (with Sven and Ole, who also are going to miss the crew dearly when we wrap). And over the weekend we went out and ordered all of the pizza at the best dive bar in town, Judy’s, but because they only have one pizza oven it came coursed out like a fancy tasting menu, which was a great new way to eat pizza. While we ate we sat anxiously waiting for the lottery numbers to be announced because we all went in on tickets together… we didn’t win. Or maybe we did and I just can’t tell you because we all made a pact not to tell anyone if we won. (I guess you’ll know I won if I start using whole vanilla beans and manuka honey in everything.)
In Eggboy news, sugar beet harvest is chugging along! The weather is so conventionally beautiful that at this rate all of the beets will be out of the ground by the end of the week. Then we party!!! Then Eggboy catches up on sleep. Then it’s Thanksgiving, then it’s Chrismukkah, then it’s 2019. It’s all smooth sailing from here!
So, like, let’s eat cake about it??
This is my new favorite cake, Basbousa! Basbousa is a Middle Eastern semolina cake that has a coarse texture, not unlike that of cornbread. When it comes out of the oven it gets covered in a sugary syrup, so even though it’s crumbly, it’s very moist. I first met basbousa at Zahav last year, when I tried their carrot hazelnut version. It was nutty and almost pudding-y, and I immediately fell in love with its ability to be rustic in texture and sharp angled all at the same time. Like a structured tweed blazer, for lack of a more relevant comparison.
This version is based on Janna Gur’s recipe from Jewish Soul Food and combines roasted pistachios with coconut and olive oil for a toasty, tender, and comforting snack cake. Its flavor is so complex that “frosting” isn’t even in its vocabulary, and because of the syrup, it will stay fresh for a good few days. If it lasts that long.
pistachio and olive oil basbousa
makes one 8” square cake
1/2 c (50g) shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
1/2 c + 1 tb (80g) all-purpose flour
1/2 c + 2 tb (125g) semolina flour
1/4 c (28g) ground roasted unsalted pistachios, plus more for decorating
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 tb (75g) olive oil
1/4 c (60ml) heavy cream
1/2 c (120ml) whole milk
3 large eggs
3/4 c (150g) sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 c (178ml) water
3/4 c (150g) sugar
1 tsp rosewater, optional
Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line an 8x8” pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine coconut, flour, semolina, pistachios, salt, and baking powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cream, and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and almond extract on high for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Fold the egg mixture into the semolina mixture and pour into the prepared pan.
Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.
While the cake bakes, make the syrup: combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in rosewater, if using.
When the cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup all over it and let the cake cool completely in the pan. Sprinkle with additional pistachios, cut into squares, and enjoy.
photos by chantell and brett quernemoen