It’s quite some time that I didn't make any dessert; precisely two long weeks without dessert. It’s a good enough reason to treat me with some luxurious dessert. It is the week of St. Patrick’s Day and everybody is painting their walls with green and so am I. No not literally I’ll start painting my walls green; on a second thought it may not be that bad idea at all to find my walls painted with fresh green. Now I’m turning green with envy of them who lives in the green walled houses.
Anyway leaving behind my dreams and all nonsense thoughts let’s get back to the blog. Firstly I thought of making a dessert with green apples as I have loads of them and they are actually sitting idle in my fridge occupying some precious space. But when I was doing my weekly shopping in the supermarket some fresh pistachio caught my eyes. They were so fresh and vibrant green in color that I fall in love with them. Without any further thoughts I put them in my cart. (Yes, now you know I’m an impulsive buyer!) And when the bill came out I realized how expensive love-affair I was having.
Now when you had shopped such an expensive ingredient without having any plans on your mind how to deal with it, you automatically try to dim down your guilty feelings. So I was. Looking for ingredients not recipes may be first time in my life.
After looking here and there for two days I finally decided to make a cake out of it. Usually you opt for the unusual things with luxury beneath it to cover up your guilt. Here I was doing pretty much similar to get the most of the pistachio. I was all set to start with my pistachio cake before I realized I forgot to pick the butter from the store. Hence back to the square one! But this little green diamonds are so inviting that I had to stand back with some major changes in my plan with a little secret agent.
If I don’t tell you the name of that agent there is no way you can find it out. Any guesses?? Okay I’m revealing the name: Cottage Cheese instead of Butter. Shocked? Out of the seat? I just knew it. This cake has no butter no oil at all. It has only fresh homemade cottage cheese and yogurt. At the end all I wanted is a gorgeous cake to get the feel of this royal dry fruits but ended up making a glazing cum icing. But at the end of the day I’m happy with my royal treat. I used a 9” round pan for this cake so, I’m going to have plenty of left over. I’m planning to get some vanilla or chocolate ice-cream to make it a more sinful dessert.
Now for you guys let’s jump to the recipe directly without uttering any more nonsense.
Preparation Time: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins + 10 mins + 60 mins (Resting Time)
Total Time: 145 mins
Yield: 8 fat wedges or 16 slices (on 9” round pan)
All-purpose flour : 1½ cup
Shelled whole pistachio : 2/3 cup
Shelled pistachio : ½ cup, roughly chopped
Egg : 3
Caster sugar or powdered sugar : 1½ cup
Baking powder : 1 tsp
Salt : ½ tsp
Vanilla essence : 1 tsp
Pistachio essence : 1 tsp (optional)
Yogurt : 5 tbsp
For the Lemon Drizzled icing :
Heavy cream: ¼ cup (I used chilled light cream)
Powdered or caster sugar : 1/3 cup
Chopped pistachio : ½ cup
Lemon juice : 1 tsp
Let’s start with the cottage cheese. As I needed freshly made cottage cheese I used homemade version. But you can always use store bought fresh or frozen variation. But make sure cottage cheese is at room temperature before you start with the preparation. For the recipe of homemade cottage cheese click here. Take a medium mixing bowl. Mix the cottage cheese in the yogurt & pistachio essence with a spoon to blend the flavor together. Once everything are well mixed keep it covered. This will help to keep the moisture intact and you won’t end up with dry or hard cheese. If you can find pistachio flavored yogurt skip the pistachio essence.
Now let’s move towards the chopping and grinding jobs. Finely ground the whole pistachio. It shouldn’t be just powdered. It should be more like coarse paste. But we don’t need any liquid for it; pistachio will release its own oil while grounding. Now set this aside for later use.
Pour the cottage cheese in the blender and blend to get a smooth paste. Place it in the large mixing bowl and beat with the electric beater for 1 min on low and 1 min on medium speed.
Now pour the grounded pistachio and beat for another 4 mins. Use first 2 mins on low speed and next 1 min on medium and last 1 min on high speed. Don’t add the entire pistachio at a go; better to add small portions and beat. Otherwise the pistachio dust will cover you and your machine.
Once pistachio is finely blended add powdered sugar and beat for 2-3 mins or until sugar is dissolved completely.
Crack one egg in a small bowl and add into the batter and beat for 1 min on medium. Repeat the same for next two eggs. Remember to add one egg at a time into the batter and beat.
Add the vanilla essence and beat for 30 secs.
Now place a sieve on the top of the mixing bowl and add baking powder and salt. Don’t sift just let it be the way they are.
Add flour into the sieve and sift the whole thing. Take a wooden spatula and start mixing things in the shape of ‘8’. In the beginning it will seem to be a real hard job but gradually things will come together and will be easier. Don’t over mix it otherwise you will end up with a hard and dry cake after baking. Just when you feel things are incorporated stop there. That’s the trick.
Pour the roughly chopped pistachio on the top and start mixing with the spatula. Again don’t over mix. Just make sure the batter has some pistachio in layers. That’s all; you don’t need to push them to blend with the batter. I love some crunches in the middle of my cake so I left some big chunks even few whole one too.
Preheat the oven to 1800C.and prepare the baking pan by greasing with dash of butter and dusting with 1 tsp of flour. Dust off the excess flour. Or you can just line in the baking pan with parchment paper.
Pour the cake mixture in to the pan. even the surface with a rubber spatula. Tap off the pan few times on the kitchen counter to get rid of the air bubbles from the batter (if presents any)
Bake the cake at 1800C for 40 mins. Remember ovens are from different companies and they have different settings so adjust the time accordingly. Mine took just exact 40 mins. You better keep an eye on the cake after 30 mins. Insert a skewer in the middle and check. If it comes out clean with dry crumble of cake your cake is done; if not or has some sticky batter on it, bake the cake for 7-10 mins more.
Once the cake is done remove immediately from the oven and drop the pan on the kitchen counter from 1 inch above. It will help the cake to jump off the pan due to the jerking without any need of touching the cake. This is a very old technique to save the cake from shrinkage after baking. Place the cake on wire rack to cool off.
While the cake is cooling off let’s prepare the Lemon Drizzled glaze or icing.
Take a medium mixing bowl. Pour the chilled cream in it. Add powdered sugar and whisk. As I don’t have heavy cream around here I used lighter version (read, the only available version) of it and chilled it for 2 hrs. in the refrigerator to thicken it a bit.
Add the lemon juice carefully. Whisk to make a smooth puree.
Once the cake has cooled completely pour the icing/glaze on the top of the cake and allow it to spread on its own.
You can also spread it with the rubber spatula to reach the edge. And sprinkle the chopped pistachio on the top of it. Allow it to set for 1 hr. minimum. Don’t touch until the icing is set. I just placed it inside the oven and left home for 3 hrs. so that I can’t see it anymore and don't get too tempted to take a teeny weeny bite of it. Do whatever is possible for you to save the cake at this point of time (wink).
Once set cut the cake into wedges or slices and serve.
This is a great example of delicious dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Or have it as it is with tea or coffee or maybe you are like me who enjoys it on its own.
Do whatever makes you happy but most importantly Relish the royalty over the moist puffy Pistachio Cottage Cheese cake.