Moroccan Mint and Pistachio Tea Cake with Honey Almond Crust
Ground too much of those silician pistachios from making Ladurée’s Financier Pistache. That’s just me being overtly zealous … or kiasu, depending on how you want to look at it! So I need use them up quickly before they start to lose all that lovely jadite green. So this is how this cake came about! I’d been wanting to bake this at home for some time already, after learning it at a tea cake class @ Palate Sensations 2 months back. Really love the texture and taste of the cake. Nothing like what I’d had before! Not that the good o’ butter pound is getting boring or what , but this is something which got me really excited. “Wow! Didn’t know a cake could taste like that!”
The Moroccan Mint Cake is a rather dense tea cake, very rich in taste and complex in textures, owing much to the incorporation of mint and dessicated coconut. But for me, the crowning glory of it is, quite literally, is the honey almond crust that goes on top of everything. Looking forward to using this to dress up other delicious, yet somewhat drab-looking cakes in the future!
The cake body is greener than what I’d made during the class two months back, owing to the incorporation of ground silician green pistachios and pistachio paste. A subtle but noticeable deviation from the using luscious golden yellow of a good butter cake. Actually I kinda like this color! Refreshing but not as shocking as a red velvet!
Mise en place includes getting all the ingredients in place. A rather fugly looking batter which turned into something so delicious! One of life’s many miracles!
Moroccan Mint and Pistachio Tea Cake with Honey Almond Crust (for a 18 cm ring mould) (adapted from the recipe used in the tea class class as well as here)
75 g butter,at room temperature
80 g sugar
20 g chopped mint (leaves only but do not discard the stem)
30g ground green pistachios
90 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp condensed milk<
1 tbsp pistachio paste
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Mint and Lemon Syrup
Water 100 g
Sugar 40 g
Mint leaves a handful bunch + stem from picked mint leaves used in the cake, chopped coarsely
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
For the honey almond crust
Sliced almonds 90 g
Honey 50 g
Butter 30 g
1. Prepare the cake tin by wrapping the bottom of a cake ring with foil and grease the bottom and sides with butter or in my case, canola oil spray
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C .
3. Blitz the sugar along with the chopped mint leaves until well incorporated.
4. Sieve the flour, ground pistachio and baking powder together in a separate bowl and set aside.
5. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with mint sugar and add the lemon rind and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly to incorporate.
6. In a small bowl, mix warm water and condensed milk until properly dissolved. Add pistachio paste to form a slurry.
7. Incorporate the eggs into the creamed butter+sugar mixture, one at a time and mix until well homegenise with mixture before proceeding with the next one.
8. Add desiccated coconut as well as the pistachio paste+ milk slurry and finally fold in the dry ingredients mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
9. Pour the batter into the prepared mould and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 30 minutes. DO NOT TURN OFF THE OVEN AT THIS STAGE!
10. Meanwhile prepare the mint syrup by heating water, sugar and mint leaves in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 min with lid on. Turn off flame and allow the mixture to steep for 10-15 min until slightly cooled. Add lemon juice, and strain the mixture into a small bowl. Set aside.
10. Once the baking time is up, check that the cake is ready by inserting a skewer through the middle of the cake. The skewer should come out clean.
11. Poke holes all over the cake with the skewer and drizzle the mint and lemon syrup evenly over the top.
12. To prepare honey and almond crust topping, add butter, honey and almond slices into a shallow saucepan. Heat to melt the butter and honey, ensuring that the almond slices are well-coated with the honey-butter mixture.
13. Top with the honey almond crust mixture evenly over the cake and return the cake to the oven at 180C until the almond are roasted to a lovely golden brown, which takes appro. 7 min.
14. Wait for the cake to cool down before slicing.
One needs to watch the oven after the cake is returned to it the second time, to crisp and roast the almonds. A tad too long and the almond may burn, leaving a slight bitter aftertaste.
And of course it helps to have a pot of mint growing at home. Otherwise storebought ones work well too of course. And its cheaper to get mint from a traditional wet market here rather than in the supermarket. The latter’s is overpriced!!!
When I first read the recipe issued during the class I was kinda skeptical about the taste of this cake. It sounded rather “scheherazade” to me with all the exotic flavours. But when I had my first taste of the cake after the class, I fell in love it instantly. No wonder Chef Charlotte, executive chef at Palate Sensations had requested Chef Thripti to make an extra one for her! Truth be told, some might find it a tad too exotic. It is imbued with all the sublime qualities of a classic drizzle-on cake, moist and rich. but yet refreshing from the citrusy tang of the lemon rind and juice incorporated. As mentioned, the versatility of the almond honey crust allows it to be used to jazz up any other cakes as required. Other nuts could be used too of course! Adjust the amount of mint leaves to suit your taste. I know folks who love it, while others simply loathe it! But even if mint aint your cuppa tea usually, I hope some of you would give the recipe a shot nonetheless! Perhaps you would be a convert like me!