Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Pear, Pistachio and Rose Cake
This is a delicately perfumed confection: yes, a cake, but no ordinary cake; the fruit keeps it so tender and damp that it’s as if it’s been drenched in light, scented syrup. I’ve been bold with the amount of rosewater here but, with the pears and pistachios, it strikes only the most fluttering of floral notes. True, the amount of rose petals I strew on top makes it look as if you might just as well wear it on your head as eat it, but it’s the sort of cake that invites exuberance.
- Yield: One 9-inch cake pan (8 to 12 pieces)
For the Cake
Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 cup sugar
¾ cup shelled pistachios
1 pound (approx. 3) thin-skinned pears, such as Bartlett (not too ripe), cored and cut into chunks, skin still on
2 cups fine almond flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free if required)
6 large eggs, room temperature
1½ tsp rosewater
For the Topping
2 tsp apricot preserves
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp rosewater
Chopped pistachios and edible rose petals, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake pan with parchment paper.
2. Put the sugar and ¾ cup of pistachios into a food processor and blitz until the pistachios are finely ground, with a few nubbly bits, too.
3. Add the remaining cake ingredients and blitz until everything is smoothly combined and the pears have been puréed into the batter. Remove the blade, scrape down the mixture, and use the spatula to help ease every bit of batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, though take a look at 35 and if the cake looks like it’s browning too fast, loosely cover with aluminum foil. When the cake’s ready, it will be brown on top, beginning to come away at the edges, and a cake tester will come out with just a few damp crumbs sticking to it.
5. Sit the cake on a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the pan; like all flourless cakes, it will sink a little. When the cake is completely cold, unclip, remove the base, and transfer to a cake stand or plate.
6. Mix the preserves, lemon juice and rosewater together in a cup, then brush this glaze over the surface of the cake, removing any small blobs of apricot if there are any. Scatter with finely chopped pistachios and strew with rose petals, then sprinkle a few more pistachio crumbs on the top.
Excerpted from the book AT MY TABLE by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2018 by Nigella Lawson. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.