A few years back, I dreamt that I had won $50,000 in a raffle and consequently spent almost the entire length of my morning shower mentally calculating how I would spend the money. A car? A vacation perhaps? Clothes, shoes? Definitely shoes. I had already spent at least half the money when somewhere in between shampooing and conditioning came the stark realisation that this money that I had surprisingly come into was in fact all a dream. Haplessly duped by a mirage of my own mind. So I stepped out of the shower and back into reality, $50,000 poorer.
It seems that I tend to blur that fine line between consciousness and sub-consciousness all too often. Often times my being awake gets all muddled up with the sub-consciousness of sleep, perhaps because sadly sometimes my dreams seem a lot more eventful. One time, I dreamt that there were bush fires near my house and convinced myself of it when I woke up. I rounded up the dog and a few keepsakes and just before I was ready to leave, I realised it was the dead of winter and that I lived in the suburbs with not a spot of bush nearby.
What brings on this train of thought? I don’t know exactly, although I do vaguely remember that these little cakes came to me in some sort of arabesque dream a few weeks back. I dreamed I lived in Morocco as a textile merchant of some sort, but I barely remember the dream now although what stuck with me was the recollection of these little cakes, all I could remember when waking up was that they looked delicious and I wanted them now.
So in my boredom one weekend at work, while pining for those cakes, I searched the Internet for recipes of that sort. I cannot recall now where exactly I found the recipe, I just hastily printed out the thing as soon as I found it for fear that it would somehow escape me in my waking-life. But if I do happen to remember where or whom I pinched the recipe from I will most certainly attribute this adaptation, however this time my memory fails me once again.
I may not have been able to make the money from my dream materialise, but making these cakes a reality were a heck of a lot easier. I altered the original recipe slightly by adding a cup of fresh raspberries to the batter and using ground almonds rather than chopped ones. The result is a springy moist cake, with a sturdy crumb. The raspberries melt and erupt its red juiciness in the oven and provide a burst of surprise when eating them.
The cakes by itself are surprisingly subtle in taste. It is not until your soak the cakes in the syrup that the lemon’s bite brings out its hidden flavours. But beware, the cakes are deceivingly light, you may think after one portion, there is still enough room for another. I made this mistake. But it must be the presence of the all those nuts- pistachios and almonds, that make this seemingly light cake into one hearty bite.
At long last, this little number has bridged that blur between two streams of consciousness. Here’s the recipe.
Little Pistachio and Raspberry Cakes
makes 12 little cakes
FOR THE CAKES
250g unsalted butter softened
200g caster sugar
2 tsp orange zest
150g shelled pistachios
80g ground almonds
50g plain all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup fresh raspberries
a pinch of salt
FOR THE SYRUP
juice of 1 lemon
50g Demerara sugar
50g shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter and line with parchment paper 12 individual dariol moulds or alternatively a 12-hole muffin tin.
Cream butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine pistachio, almonds, flour and baking powder and fold through the butter mixture until just combined. Make sure you do not over mix.
Gently fold through raspberries.
Divide batter between prepared tins, filling them 3⁄4 of the way up.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes have risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
While cakes are baking prepare the syrup by combining syrup ingredients, in a small saucepan over low heat.
Stir the mixture until all the sugar has dissolved.
When cakes are done, remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
When ready to serve, carefully unmould the cakes and place onto serving plates.
Pour the syrup over cakes and sprinkle with some caramelised pistachios.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.