Thursday, December 22, 2011
Pine Nut Cake
I’m going to take a little break over the holidays, but I figured I’d leave you with a pine nut cake recipe. It’s not too sweet and is very versatile, so it’s perfect for breakfast, brunch or tea, or just as a snack (or a dessert, of course). Even though I’d never made it before, it tasted very familiar. The top was golden and crispy, while the crumb was fluffy and moist. I loved it, and the Engineer had seconds (though he would prefer it if the pine nuts were ground). It’s from I made that; I halved the recipe to get one loaf, which is what I wrote below. Bon appétit!
1 cup pine nuts
½ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
½ lb (2 sticks) margarine (or butter at room temperature)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 whole eggs
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp lactose-free yogurt (I used lactose-free cottage cheese, and you can round up to ½ cup)
2 large egg whites
¼ cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Toast the pine nuts over very low heat in a dry sauté pan until they have just begun to take on a golden color. Remove from the stove and reserve.
Meanwhile, cream the sugar, margarine and lemon zest together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Be sure to scrape down the sides as you go to make sure everything mixes evenly.
When the mixture is quite smooth, add the flour and baking powder. Mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated and then begin adding the whole eggs, one by one, waiting until each egg is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Turn the mixer up to high for about 5 seconds to combine everything thoroughly, then scrape down the sides and the bottom with a spatula and mix in any bits that have failed to incorporate.
Add the yogurt and mix in with the paddle attachment until it’s thoroughly incorporated. As you continue mixing, add the lemon juice and incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom and mix well with a spatula. Then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs whites to soft peaks, adding the sugar a little at a time. Fold a third of the egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula to combine well. Add the rest of the meringue and fold in well until the mixture is combined. Fold in the pine nuts, reserving about 1 ½ Tbsp for the top of the cake.
Brush a 9”×5” loaf pan with melted margarine or butter and line the bottom and sides with paper (the recipe didn’t say this, but that’s what the images showed, and in hindsight, it IS what you should do). Fill the loaf pan with the batter. Smooth and flatten the top with the spatula and sprinkle with the reserved pine nuts.
Bake the loaf on the middle rack until you can put a knife into it and bring it out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a cake rack to cool completely.