The last ten days of Ramadan always feels sweet and sad. Sweet – because the Almighty has promised the highest of rewards whoever does his good deeds and gets through the Night of Qadr.
“We have sent it [the Quran] down in the Night of Qadr. And what may let you know what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend in it, with the leave of your Lord, along with every command. Peace it is till the debut of dawn” (Q. 97).
Sad – because the month is quickly coming to an end before you could even enjoy it completely. This Ramadan has been really hectic. I have been working on a few things this month and it has literally drained me. I have been having late nights almost everyday. But I have no complaints. It is shaping up well and hoping that it will bring a positive change to my life, InShaAllah. With elappa’s death earlier during the month and a lot of negative things happening, this was something positive that I literally sunk into, for solace and I am happy I did it, Alhamdulillah.
Did you notice that ever since I started posting this Ramadan, it has all been savory posts? Starting from the Naga Ginger Chicken till the latest Meen Kakkathil, apart from the Chocolate Tea, it has taken that path. Sweet is usually reserved for Eid most of the time. During Ramadan, the sweet part is usually reserved for the fruit juice or the thick hot drink at Iftar time, with an occasional jalebi or kunafa from the nearby shop. But during Eid, every one usually goes overboard on the sweets that are eaten. From the cups of semiya payasams or sheer kurmas, to the ela adas in most of the houses, usually we are on a sugar overload by lunch time. But this time, we don’t expect any celebration during Eid. However, since Allah has gifted us this Eid as a reward for completing 30 days of hardship, I feel it is imperative we stick to the basics – going to the Eidgah for prayers, wear new clothes, visit relatives and eat good food.
I thought since Eid is coming, I should post something sweet but a little out of the box too. The craze of milk cakes is for real. I have tried a couple of times from outside, but personally I didn’t like it much. I feel that what we make at home, even though it comes with a lot of hard work, tastes so much better! After the Saffron Milk Cake, trying the pistachio variant has been on my mind since very long. I had saved up half the batch of organic pistachios that Zerin had got for me last year during our Global Village visit. We ate more than half of it and I froze the ones for this cake, so that nobody would steel them. Since the pistachios were organic, they were huge and deep green in color, that you can literally see them in this cake! Zerin, just letting you know that in case you do land up with some more, you know who to call. 🙂
Since nuts tend to make denser crumbs, the cake is a mix of butter and oil, and with folded in whipped egg whites, to add some body. I must stress on the milk I made for this cake. We had leftovers since it was a little bit too sweet for our liking, but I poured cold water over it and enjoyed it like a pista milk – it was so so so so delicious! The number of “so” is deliberate… One mistake I did was bake the cake in mini loaf tins, so the thickness of the cake didn’t facilitate the soaking of the milk. I would suggest you to bake the batter in an 8 inch or a slightly more bigger cake pan. The thinner the cake, the more it will soak the liquid and be melt in mouth. I suggest you to ditch your diet and enjoy this cake without thinking about its consequences. 🙂 Off to the recipe…
- 125 gm pistachio kernels
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 50 gm butter, softened
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- FOR THE POURING MILK:
- 1 can (370 ml) evaporated milk
- 1 can (395 gm) condensed milk (as needed)
- ¼ cup milk
- FOR TOPPING:
- 2 sachets whipped cream powder
- ½ cup cold milk
- A splash of vanilla
- Chopped pistachios for garnish
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and flour a big pan. I used an 8 hole square pan.
- Toast the pistachios in a hot pan for five minutes or till an aroma comes. Cool and grind into powder. Reserve 3 heaped tablespoons of the powder.
- Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Separate the eggs. Add the whites into a clean bowl. Add a pinch of salt and whip till stiff.
- In the other bowl, combine the yolks, butter, oil and sugar and beat for five minutes, or till well combined. Beat in the vanilla.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk and beat till combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients, milk and the pistachios and beat just till combined.
- With the help of the spatula, fold in the egg whites just till incorporated. You won't be seeing any white streaks, at the same time ensure not to overfold the batter.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes till the skewer inserted comes out clean. (refer notes)
- Meanwhile, whisk together the milks along with the reserved pistachio. Keep cold till time of use.
- Allow the cake to cool for five minutes. Poke with fork all around and pour almost ¾ of the milk all over the cake. Reserve the rest to use while serving.
- Allow it to soak in the fridge for two hours.
- Whip the powder, milk and vanilla till thick. Keep cold till use.
- To serve, pipe or spread the whipped cream on top, sprinkle with pistachios. Pour more milk around and serve cold.
Use condensed milk as per your sweetness. The cake isn't sweet. I used the whole tin and the milk was too sweet, but it complimented the less sweet cake, so didn't make much of a difference.
If you can't get hold of evaporated milk, substitute with more milk. You can add a little cream too for some added flavor.
For the whipped cream topping, instead of the powder, you can substitute with one cup of whipping cream, ¼ to ½ cup icing sugar as per taste and a splash of vanilla, whipped till stiff peaks.