Pistachio Cake with Pomegranate Sauce

One of the challenges of Passover is always the desserts.  There is the sponge cake that is rarely spongy, chocolate covered matzah that is, well, still matzah, and those strange fruit jelly things.  I am a firm believer that the key to keeping Passover with both a happy palate and stomach is to avoid Passover-specific ingredient.  This seder-appropriate Middle Eastern- inspired dessert is simple but delicious any time of year (and useful if you have friends who can’t have gluten).

Total time: about 2 ½ hours (including cooling time)

Yield: 12

Level: Moderate

Recipe

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 c pistachios, finely ground in the food processor
  • 16 oz. pomegranate juice
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods, partially crushed

Directions

Grease a 10” spring form pan well and set aside.  Preheat oven to 325º.

In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks and sugar until lemon-colored.  Gradually add in the pistachios.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt until they form stiff peaks.  Carefully fold into pistachio mixture.  The whites should be incorporated, but it’s ok if the batter is not completely uniform.  Note that if the pistachio mixture is too hard to mix, you can first mix in about 1/3 of the whites to soften it before folding in the remaining whites.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour without opening the oven door.  After an hour, turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for 10-15 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and invert over a cooling rack until completely cool.  Remove outer ring of pan.  Use a knife and/or a spatula to separate the cake from the bottom of the pan.  Invert onto a plate.  Reinvert onto another plate to the top of the cake is up.

While the cake is baking, make the sauce: add the pomegranate juice, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves then stirring occasionally.  Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until volume has reduced by about half.

When serving, you can poke small holes in the cake and pour the sauce over the top, or you can spoon over individual pieces.