I’ve always loved the flavor of pistachio, the neon green seed that’s native to various parts of Asia. But did you know that some of the world’s best pistachios actually thrive on the Southern Italian island of Sicily? There, stunning neon green versions can be found; the small gems absolutely exploding with exotic, fruity and nutty flavor. As the most colorful “nut” on the market, pistachios contain more antioxidants than most other nuts, are high in vitamin B6 and potassium, and contain plenty of fiber and protein. Once you try a raw Sicilian pistachio, it’s hard to go back to the brownish-green versions commonly sold in the US.
I few months ago I dined at a new Italian restaurant in Brooklyn called Leuca and tried an excellent pistachio cake hued neon green. I had assumed the green color was natural from high-quality Sicilian almonds, but after procuring the recipe, I was disappointed to find out the color was artificial and came from a specific brand of pistachio paste. So, I took it upon myself to rewrite the recipe to cut out artificial store-bought pistachio paste, white sugar, gluten and all animal ingredients except for eggs. Using a hefty dose of spirulina I was able to obtain the green color as well as many extra health benefits.
PISTACHIO DREAM CAKE INGREDIENTS
For the Topping:
3 tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar
3 tablespoons Raw Pistachios, chopped
For the Cake:
6 Eggs, divided
1 cup + 3 teaspoons Coconut Palm Sugar
¾ cup Raw Pistachios
½ cup Almond Paste
1⅓ cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
½ Avocado, pureed
½ cup Coconut Oil, melted
3 teaspoons Spirulina Powder
1¾ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Vanilla Paste
½ teaspoon Almond Extract
Raw Dark Chocolate
PISTACHIO DREAM CAKE ASSEMBLY
1 | Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2 | To make the topping, combine the coconut palm sugar and chopped pistachios in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
3 | To make the cake, add 1 egg white (reserving the yolk), 3 teaspoons of coconut palm sugar, and the pistachios to a food processor. Blend (scraping down the sides of blender as needed) until a smooth paste forms (about 5 minutes). Add the almond paste and ⅓ cup gluten-free all purpose flour and blend until mixture is fully combined and no large chunks of almond paste remain (about 1 minute).
4 | Transfer the nut-sugar mixture to the stand mixer. Add the avocado puree and coconut oil, and mix until combined (about 30 seconds).
5 | In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining 1 cup of gluten-free all purpose flour, spirulina, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
6 | Add the vanilla paste and almond extract to the avocado-sugar mixture, and then add the remaining 5 eggs and 1 yolk, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg is added. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
7 | Line a 9-inch springform cake pan with a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom. Rub coconut oil over the parchment and sides of the pan, adding the batter and smoothing the top. Finish by sprinkling pistachio-sugar evenly all over. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
8 | Remove the cake from the oven. Run the paring knife around the sides of the cake and remove it from the mold. Let it cool.
9 | Using a Microplane grater, grate the raw chocolate over the top of the cake to evenly cover. Slice it into 12 pieces. Finish with the freshly grated orange zest and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to give it that extra kick!