From Too Many Chefs -

May 8, 2006
Mini Pistachio-Lime Cakes

Peanut butter and chocolate, red beans and rice - some foods just go together. I submit to you that pistachios and lime should be considered one of those pairings. They go very well together in these cakes you bake in ramekins.

During the IMBB 24 round-up, I found Mekuno Cooking's entry, which incuded a very nice quick nut cake recipe. She had adapted the recipe from Epicurious, and I've now adapted the recipe from her.

The recipe I swiped this cake from was a walnut cake and had a very different flavor to it. I was matching a flashy main dish and needed a flashy dessert to finish the meal, but one that wouldn't take forever to make.

A little creativity, a little math, and I can now give you a recipe that will make four ramekin-sized cakes to serve at the end of any meal that had strong flavors in it.

The pistachio flavor is somewhat muted until the cake cools. When it's hot, the lime flavor overpowers everything else. I suggest letting these cool so the multi-layered pistachio flavor can cut through the lime to make a more complex treat.

Further experiments I may try with this recipe would involve the inclusion of coconut or the substitution of macadamias. I might even sprinkle in a little cayenne to keep the flavors bright. It's a simple recipe and wide open to interpretation, so please riff on this riff on Mekuno Cooking's riff on a recipe from Epicurious.

Mini Pistachio-Lime Cakes makes 4 mini-nut cakes - from a recipe from Epicurious via Mekuno Cooking

1 1/3 cup pistachios (4 oz), plus some for topping
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
An 8 tablespoon stick of butter cut in small pieces
the zest of two small or one large lime
4 eggs
1/2 cup AP flour

For syrup
5 small or two large limes
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons honey

Preheat your oven to 350 F.
In a food processor, blend the sugar and pistachios together until they are finely ground. Add the butter and zest and pulse until well mixed and butter is incorporated fully. Add the eggs, and pulse until mixture is smooth.

Add the flour evenly to the processor, and pulse just until incorporated, about four-five pulse of one-two second duration.

Spoon the mix evenly into four un-greased ramekins. To get the mix smooth and evenly distributed in the ramekins, swirl them in the air gently in small circles. The batter will smooth out if you are not too violent.

Sprinkle whole or crushed pistchios on top of each cake, covering the cake evenly, and as thickly as you like.

Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet, and place the cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a wooden tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the ramekins to a cooling rack and let cool several minutes before trying to take the cake out of the ramekins.

Run a dull knife aorund the outside of the ramekins to release the nut cakes. Use a glove or towel to pick up the still warm ramekin, and invert the cake into your hand. One good shake should get the cake out.

Let cool to room temperature for best flavor. You can eat them when they're hot, but they're better and the flavor is more complex at room temperature.

When ready to serve, combine all the syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir well to dissolve honey and sugar. Let boil briefly, then simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken up the syrup. It will still be pretty thin.

Drizzle the hot syrup over each individual nut cake and serve. Each cake serves 1-2 people.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at May 8, 2006 6:49 AM

What a wonderful and yummy adaptation! I love pistachios. I may have to adopt your adaptation!

Posted by faith on May 8, 2006 at 11:29 AM

This sounds so good. I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for the recipe.

Posted by Chocoholic on May 8, 2006 at 12:07 PM

If I can't find limes, can I substitute lemons? Kidding.

Posted by Justin on May 8, 2006 at 2:18 PM

Justin - only if you sub walnuts for the pistachios...

Posted by barrett on May 8, 2006 at 3:21 PM