This delicious cake is originally from the River Cafe cookbook, and the authors run the wonderful Italian restaurant, River Cafe in London. The cake combines my favorite ingredients; pistachio, lemon, vanilla bean and almonds, which are commonly used in Turkish cooking too. It is a wonderfully rich cake, a real treat with tea or coffee.
prep time: 25 minutes bake time: 50 minutes
100 gr/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan, at room temperature
1 lemon, preferably Meyer lemon
1 vanilla bean
6 1/2oz/1 cup sugar
60gr/2oz slivered almonds
90gr/3oz shelled unsalted pistachios
4 large eggs, at room temperature
60gr/2oz all-purpose flour
50gr/1 3/4oz shelled unsalted pistachios
45gr/1 1/2oz sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F
Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with some butter and line bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
With a zester, grate the lemon peel (reserve lemon). With the tip of a sharp paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds. In a food processor, pulse the sugar with the peel and vanilla bean. Transfer to a bowl. In the same processor bowl, pulse the almonds and pistachios until finely ground, but do not let go to paste.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and lemon-vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides the bowl between each addition. Beat in the lemon-vanilla sugar, then with a spatula fold in the flour and the nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and shake to even it, but do not worry about smoothing the top. Bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen edges of cake with a kitchen knife and remove sides of pan. Invert cake and remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment paper, then invert right side up on a serving plate.
For glaze, squeeze juice from reserved lemon. Roughly chop pistachios by hand. In a very small pot, bring the lemon juice to a boil with the sugar and cook until syrupy. Stir in the pistachios and pour over the cake. Cut into wedges to serve.