Chocolate pistachio cake

Chocolate pistachio cake

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

A sophisticated and exotic variation on the more familiar flourless chocolate almond cake. Pistachios are pricier than almonds (especially if you use top-notch Iranian ones), but they are worth it for the subtle yet distinctive flavour they add. Like its almond-based cousin, this cake cracks and sinks after baking. Don’t panic! Feel free to serve it with a heavy dredging of icing sugar to cover the cracks, and perhaps some fresh raspberries. For a special occasion, and an impressive presentation, top with a mounded dome of cream and cover with a glossy coating of ganache icing.



Quantity Ingredient
150g best-quality dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
150g unsalted pistachio kernels
150g unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs, separated
pinch salt
2-4 tablespoons pistachio slivers, to garnish


Quantity Ingredient
200g best-quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons honey
80g unsalted butter

Cream dome

Quantity Ingredient
300ml cream
1 tablespoon honey
splash orange-flower water


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line a 23 cm springform tin.
  2. To make the cake, melt the chocolate. In a food processor whiz 50 g of the sugar with the pistachios until they turn into a fine dust. Add the butter and an additional 50 g of the sugar, and process until smooth. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all the eggs have been added, and with the motor running, slowly pour in the melted chocolate.
  3. In a spotlessly clean bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with the salt. As peaks start to form, slowly add the remaining 50 g sugar until you have a glossy and firm mound. Add a large spoonful to the batter in the food processor and pulse a few times to slacken the mixture. Then carefully fold the remaining batter into the egg whites.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, or until cooked. The cake will be ready when it starts to come away from the sides of the tin. Allow to cool in the tin before carefully turning it out. The cake should be completely cold before icing.
  5. To make the icing, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heavy pan with the honey and butter. Heat gently, whisking from time to time, until the chocolate has completely melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. The icing should be at the same temperature as the cream or it will melt it.
  6. While the icing is cooling, whip the cream with the honey and orange-flower water to form stiff peaks. Dollop the cream on top of the cake and smooth it into a generous dome shape. Pour on the icing very slowly so it covers the surface and sides of the cake evenly. Don’t be tempted to rush, or to use a spatula, or you will not achieve a smooth, glossy finish. Decorate with the pistachios and serve.
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