Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lime Angel Food Cake with Pistachios

I made zabaglione last week and found myself with a container of leftover egg whites. Every time I opened the fridge, it seemed like they were staring at me. So a nice light, airy angel food cake seemed like the thing to do. The addition of lime and pistachios in this recipe is the perfect way to turn a potentially boring cake into something flavorful (while adding some nice crunch at the same time). If you've ever had an angel food cake that tastes and feels like eating a sponge, you know what I'm talking about.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Lime syrup and lime glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1/2 cup unsalted raw pistachios (about 2 oz.), finely chopped in processor
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1.      Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Do not grease a 10-inch angel food cake pan with removable bottom (do not use nonstick).
2.      Sift flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and salt into medium bowl; repeat sifting 3 times.
3.      Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, lime peel, and vanilla on medium speed in large bowl until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
4.      Sprinkle 1/3 of flour mixture over whites and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions just until incorporated.
5.      Transfer batter to ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan with 4-inch-high sides and removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan); smooth top.
6.      Bake cake until pale golden and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 38 minutes. Immediately invert cake onto work surface if pan has feet (or invert center tube of pan onto neck of bottle or metal funnel) and cool cake completely. Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.
7.      Using long thin knife, cut around cake sides and center tube to loosen. Lift out center tube with cake still attached; run knife between cake and bottom of pan to loosen. Invert cake onto rack, then turn cake over, rounded side up. Set rack with cake atop rimmed baking sheet.

Lime syrup and lime glaze:
1.      Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice in small saucepan; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Brush syrup all over top and sides of cake. Immediately press pistachios onto top and sides of cake, pressing to adhere.
2.      Stir powdered sugar with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Let stand until glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
3.      Transfer cake to platter; cut into wedges and serve.

Bon Appétit, April 2010 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
lime zest
egg whites (leftover from making zabaglione),
mixed with lime zest and homemade vanilla extract
frothy (don't worry if the color is neon green, it will
change when the remaining ingredients are added)
soft peaks (cream of tartar already added)
gradually adding in the sugar
stiff peaks
folding in the flour mixture
scooping batter into pan

As you can see, I ignored the directive not to use a nonstick pan.
I wasn't being insolent...that's the only angel food cake pan I have.
The cake may have baked slightly higher with a regular pan, but as
you can see, this worked out just fine.
batter smoothed in pan
cake cooling

My pan doesn't have "legs" to prop it up, so I had to hang it
upside down to cool. This step can be a little nerve wracking
your first time (especially if you're using a nonstick pan). But the
cake stays put, so don't worry (looks like a lampshade).
running a knife around the edge
removing the cake from the pan
still in one piece
making the lime syrup

I added some extra lime zest (figured it couldn't hurt). My syrup looks
brown because I used evaporated cane juice instead of refined sugar.
finely chopped pistachios
brushing the cake with lime syrup
sprinkling with pistachios
cake coated with pistachios
drizzling with lime glaze
cake drizzled

I doubled the glaze and think I probably went overboard a little.

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