Pistachio cake with apple cloud, fennel and cinnamon ice cream

Pistachio cake with apple cloud, fennel and cinnamon ice cream

By
From
Dig In!
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

This is another dish based on textural and flavour contrasts. The ice cream is cinnamon flavoured but contains sour cream, which gives it an interesting tang.

Cinnamon ice cream

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200ml milk
1 cinnamon stick
3 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
200g sour cream
liquid nitrogen, for freezing
15g freeze-dried apple, crushed

Pistachio cake

Quantity Ingredient
125g icing sugar mixture
125g unsalted butter, softened
110g pistachio nuts, ground
70g ground almonds
pinch salt
4 eggs
40g pistachio paste

Fennel syrup

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
100g caster sugar
150ml apple juice

Pistachio praline

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
50g pistachio nuts

Caramel sauce

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
150ml pouring cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Apple cloud

Quantity Ingredient
35g caster sugar
15g titanium-strength gelatine, softened in iced water
3 granny smith apples
pinch citric acid
1/2 lemon, juiced

Garnish

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 granny smith apple, peeled and cut into small dice
freeze-dried apple, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170°C for a fan-forced oven).
  2. To make the ice cream, place the milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until just before boiling point. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. While constantly whisking, slowly pour the hot milk over the eggs and stir until well combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and set over a bowl of iced water to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, remove the cinnamon stick, add the sour cream and whisk to combine. If it seems to be separated, blitz the mixture with a hand-held blender to bring it together again. Place the bowl back in the electric mixer and, while slowly whisking, add the liquid nitrogen and beat until the ice cream has set firmly. Alternatively, churn in an ice cream machine according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Once firm, place the ice cream in a large piping bag with a plain 2 cm nozzle and pipe it into logs, about 10 cm long, onto a lined baking tray sprinkled with a quarter of the crushed freeze-dried apple. Sprinkle the top of the logs with the remaining crushed apple. Set aside in the freezer.
  3. To make the pistachio cake, place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat them until light and fluffy. Add the ground pistachio nuts, ground almonds and salt and stir to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the pistachio paste. Pour the mixture into a baking paper-lined 30 x 20 cm cake tin and bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes. The cake will be dense.
  4. While the cake is cooking, make the fennel syrup. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and allow to boil until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and brush it with the fennel syrup. Cut the cake into 12 even rectangles. (Freeze the left-over cake and use it for another dessert.)
  6. To make the pistachio praline, place the sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, until the caramel is dark golden in colour. Meanwhile spread the pistachio nuts on a sheet of baking paper. Once the sugar is ready, pour it over the nuts and set aside to cool. Once cool, break the praline into small pieces and set aside.
  7. To make the caramel sauce, place the sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, until the caramel is a deep golden colour. Remove from the heat, add the cream and salt and stir until combined. Pour it into a bowl and set over an ice bath to cool.
  8. To make the apple cloud, place the sugar and 35 ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze the water from the gelatine and add the gelatine to the pan. Stir to combine.
  9. Juice the apples (you will need about 200 ml apple juice). Add the apple juice, citric acid and lemon juice to the syrup and stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and set over another bowl of iced water to cool. When cool, transfer the mixture to an iSi gun (available at kitchen supply stores) and charge it 4 times. Set aside in the refrigerator. Alternatively, to make the apple cloud without an iSi gun, don’t chill the mixture. Instead, close to serving time, put the mixture in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until thick and airy, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
  10. To serve, place a slice of cake on each serving plate. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and place a log on top of each piece of cake. Drizzle with the caramel sauce and sprinkle with the pistachio praline. Remove the iSi gun from the refrigerator (if using), shake vigorously and squeeze a dollop of the apple cloud onto each plate (or scoop it from the mixing bowl). Garnish with the diced fresh and the freeze-dried apple.
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