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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pistachio, yoghurt & cardamom cake, with lime syrup

Edit: AugustusGloop has just reminded me that in Australia we usually pronounce cardamon with an 'n' on the end, rather than a 'm'. Both versions are widely used, so I'm putting in alternatives so those on all continents can find it again!

I had the remnants of a pot of Jalna natural yoghurt in the fridge needing to be used up immediately, and never one to shy away from baking new cake recipes, I flicked through my copy of Sweet Food (Murdoch Books, 2002) - the book with oh-so-pretty pictures but completely useless, random order of recipes and a damn-poor index. It's impossible to find anything except by flicking around in frustration. Whoever edited that should be ashamed. As it is I'm a little ashamed that I sat down and created my own categorised, alphabetised index for it, confirming that I am now a real dorky librarian. If anyone has this book and would like an index for it, let me know and I'll email it to you! It will turn a pretty, but useless (*cough* Paris Hilton...) book into something you will actually use.

So, I was flicking through this book because I remember seeing a few cakes made with yoghurt, and I found one that appealed in this pistachio and cardamom (cardamon) cake, which used just the same amount of yoghurt as I had left. It's extremely quick and easy to make, and doesn't dirty your kitchen with bowls and utensils, as everything is just thrown straight into the food processor.
I actually didn't have enough pistachios, so I had to make up the difference with walnuts. I was worried that the flavour would be all wrong and I'd make something awful (regular readers are familiar with my inability to follow a recipe to the letter...) .Luckily, the walnuts I used were sweet, fresh ones bought in bulk from the market, not the dark, bitter ones you get in tiny packets from the supermarket, so not only did the flavour work really well, but they contributed more to the lovely, moist texture already supplied by the yoghurt. The flavour of the cardamom(n) didn't really come through though, so I would double the amount next time.

The lime syrup is made later and adds a pleasant tartness to the cake. It was the flavour everybody commented on, but I don't think the taste would suffer if you didn't include it. I took this to a fundraising concert in which I performed on Sunday, to raise money for our vocal ensemble to tour Europe again in 2006. I brought it out at interval, which is usually when performers' blood sugar levels need a bit of a boost, and it was very well received.
A recipe to keep and make again, for informal events; picnics, morning coffee etc. As my favourite Amateur Gourmet says "It's all very casual. Very cazh. Wear your sandals."
Read on for the recipe:
Tagged with + +

Pistachio, yoghurt and cardamom (cardamon) cake, with lime syrup
from: Sweet Food, Murdoch Books, 2002.

150g (1 cup) unsalted pistachio nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom(n)*
150g butter, chopped
185g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
310g (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar
3 eggs
125g (1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
1 lime**

-Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
-Place the pistachios and cardamom in a food processor and pulse unti just chopped.
-Add the butter, flour and 185g (3/4 cup) of the caster sugar and pulse for 20 seconds, or until crumbly.
-Add the combined eggs and yoghurt and pulse for 10 seconds, or unti just combined.
-Spoon into the tin and smooth the surface.
-Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

-To make the syrup, peel the zest off the lime with a vegetable peeler - remove any white pith from the zest.
-Place the remaining caster sugar and 100ml water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
-Bring to the boil, then add the lime zest and cook for 5 mnutes.
-Strain and cool slightly. Pierce the cake with a few skewer holes and pour the hot syrup slowly over the cooled cake.

*I would increase this to 1 teaspoon
**I used a few tablespoons of bottled juice


  • Niki...that is so very much a cake Matt would enjoy. I'm unable to read the recipe, though...type is very small.

    Ha ha...Paris Hilton. I saw her on some chat show, promoting that book. I wanted to aim sharp objects at her. Later, Letterman got one of his staff to read excerpts...and it was so banal, I almost wept for the slaughtered trees it was printed on.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10/13/2005 05:12:00 am  

  • Arghhh! Something happened between posting and checking and.....later. I will go back and edit the post to make the type larger!

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/13/2005 09:50:00 am  

  • I love Jalna yoghurt! The pistachio and cardamon combo sounds divine too.

    Sorry I can't use the word cardamom. I'm so used to cardamon; cardamom makes me say it with an American accent =)

    By Anonymous augustusgloop, at 10/13/2005 10:46:00 am  

  • AG - You know, I had forgotten (or it had never clicked) that it could be spelled two ways. This is despite me always having said it cardaMON, rather than cadarMOM. With that in mind, I'm going to edit the entry to include both spellings, just so people from all continents can find it when searching!

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/13/2005 11:48:00 am  

  • I had no idea that in Australia we pronounced it with an 'n', I've always said it with 'm' and always thought it sounded awkward. However, can't teach this cow new tricks...so i'll keep saying 'məm'
    By the way, this cake (as every other on this blog) looks great, can't wait to try it.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2005 04:47:00 pm  

  • mm.. I miss Jalna, used to have it all the time when I lived in Melbourne. Especially the Lebanese one with a little cardamom and canned pears... mm

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2005 09:04:00 pm  

  • Looks great Niki (as per usual). I, like others it seems, didn't know we had cardamom spelt two ways. I always thought it was just people pronouncing it incorrectly. (However if I had know that you said it cardamon, I would have perhaps questioned it!)

    By Blogger Crazy Gaijin, at 10/13/2005 11:21:00 pm  

  • In a previous life, my sis and I had a cafe in Smith St, Fitzroy, and I remember a cake from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion (a bible at that time!) which sounds similar to this one. Easy, simple, great dressed up with a bit of fruit as a dessert and perfect with a cup of tea.

    By Anonymous Sticky, at 10/14/2005 02:48:00 am  

  • Yeah, I'm not really certain on the cardamon/cardamom thing. Certainly it appears in text more often with an m. Maybe it's just someething that's happened in Australia. Like the way some people say "capsicun" or "Samwiches". :-)
    AG & Anon - Jalna yoghurt is brilliant. Have you/did you ever try the bush honey or coffee versions? Yum! Not very sweet, but what intensity of flavour!
    Sticky - Stephanie is still the Great Orange Bible, except that it isn't orange in the new edition (which I really want, but can't justify purchasing when I already have the first one).

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/14/2005 11:14:00 am  

  • Woohoo. I'm so glad I opened up a whole dialogue on cardamon vs cardamom. I've always seen it cardamon in my English and Aust cookbooks--I though it was like a color vs colour thing.

    However good ol' Wiki seems to indicate the scientific name for it is Elettaria cardamomum, which would make the use of m more accurate.

    Must just be the tendency for clipped pronunciation by the English.

    By Anonymous augustusgloop, at 10/14/2005 11:46:00 am  

  • Yum - I'm going to have to make that cake. It sounds great! Niki, what is the berry in the picture?

    By Blogger Cathy, at 10/14/2005 01:26:00 pm  

  • Hmmm....cardamon is truly one of my favorite spices! Oh si!

    By Blogger Melissa CookingDiva, at 10/15/2005 02:27:00 am  

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