Apricot Almond Cake with Rosewater & Cardamom

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Nigella describes this cake as simple, fragrant and beguiling.  This elegant dessert is ideal for Passover since one cannot eat leavened baked goods during the week-long Jewish holiday.  This past Saturday I hosted my very first Seder, a ritual feast of freedom.  It was a last minute decision thought up Friday afternoon.  I never cooked brisket before, so I needed some tasty and efficient recipes to pull off this meal on such short notice.  I borrowed the cookbook The New Passover Menu by Paula Shoyer from the library for some inspiration.  Is it weird to call your butcher first thing Saturday morning to discuss their brisket inventory?  I spent beautiful Saturday afternoon on Monkland Avenue shopping for ingredients.  At Le Maître Boucher the butcher packaged a nice cut of brisket for the occasion and the fishmonger wrapped up a fresh filet of salmon.  For this dessert, I collected the dried apricots and pistachios from the selection at the local fruit & veggie store.  I also stopped by spice shop Station Épices for some cardamom pods.  I’m a hot chocolate person, so I don’t bother with tea and coffee at my apartment.  Since moving into my own place last October, I’ve noticed most people who come over are tea drinkers.  Luckily, Montreal-based David’s Tea is on my street.  So in an effort to become the hostess with the mostess I picked up an assortment of flavourful and colourful teas to offer my guests at the end of the meal.  Back in my kitchen, Paula’s recipes turned out delicious.  I made the Brisket Osso Buco, Smashed Potatoes and her Ratatouille.  Definitely bookmarked those pages for next year’s celebration.  It was an informal affair with just a few guests.  My mother brought her famous matzo ball soup and this beautiful bouquet of sunny tulips.

This dessert is gluten free and dairy free!

Watch Nigella’s video from Simply Nigella.

I didn’t get a chance to bake this cake in time for Saturday’s get-together, so my co-workers will be my taste-testers.  This apricot almond cake with rosewater & cardamom boasts flavours I don’t usually bake with.  The recipe was a refreshing change from my mostly chocolate treats.  I think a slice served with a cup of tea complements this spring awakening.

Verdict: My colleagues LOVE this cake!

 

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Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Simply Nigella

Yields 8-10 slices

 

Ingredients

 

Cake

1 1/4 cups (approximately 6 ounces) dried apricots

1 cup cold water

2 cardamom pods, cracked

2 cups almond meal

1/3 cup fine cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if required)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

6 extra large eggs (I used large eggs since that’s the size I buy)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon rosewater

 

Decoration

2 teaspoons apricot preserves or rose petal preserves (I used apricot preserves)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped pistachios

 

Instructions

  1. Place the dried apricots in a small saucepan with the cracked cardamom pods.
  2. Pour the water over the apricots.
  3. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 10 minutes.  Watch over the saucepan so that it doesn’t run dry.  At the 10 minute mark, there should be almost out of water.  Take the saucepan off the heat, set aside.  The apricots will absorb the rest of the water as they cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.  Butter the sides.
  6. Set 5 of the dried apricots aside.  Slice them in half.
  7. Remove the cardamom husks from the saucepan.  Leave the seeds in the saucepan with the apricots.
  8. Pour the apricots and seeds into a food processor.
  9. Pour the almond meal, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and eggs into the food processor.  Blitz until combined.
  10. Pour the lemon juice and rosewater into the food processor.  Blitz until incorporated.
  11. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan.
  12. Place the sliced apricots around the circumference of the pan.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes.  When ready, the cake top will be firm and the sides will be coming away from the edges of the pan.  A cake tester inserted in the middle will come out with a couple damp crumbs.
  14. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.
  15. Warm up the apricot preserves.
  16. Stir in the lemon juice.
  17. Brush the mixture over the top of the cake.
  18. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the cake.
  19. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.

Store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place or in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.

This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.  It’s best not to sprinkle the pistachios on the cake if you plan on freezing it, since the nuts may soften.  Leave the cake on the pan base.  Use a double layer of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil to cover the cake.  To thaw the cake, unwrap it and leave it on the pan base placed on a plate at room temperature for 4 hours.

 

 

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