When I was 12 years old, my Dad gave me a pair of sunglasses as a gift. The lenses were a soft shade of pink and they looked like aviators, but not quite as cool. They were much too big for my face at the time, as was the message he was trying to convey to his oldest daughter. I looked up at him perplexed, having just unwrapped this gift, expecting some blinged out, girly thing instead and he said to me, ‘These are for you, so that you might see the world through rose coloured glasses’.
It took me at least 16 years to grow into those frames and they have never fit better than in these last 12 months.
Happy One Year Anniversary Fare followers!
Pistachio, Lemon & White Chocolate Mousse Torte
For the pistachio sponge cake:
6 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pistachios, finely ground
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sifted cake flour
pinch of salt
green and yellow food colouring
Position your racks in the top and centre of your oven, then heat to 400°. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. You may wish to spray with cooking spray but I didn’t and it wasn’t a problem.
In a medium bowl or stand mixer, beat the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of icing sugar and the vanilla on high speed until it becomes thick, pale yellow and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted from the batter (about 3-4 minutes). In a separate bowl (I like to use the hand mixer for this) beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually, add the remaining 2/3 cup of icing sugar until you have shiny, stiff peaks. With a large spatula, stir 1/4 of the whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the rest leaving some threads of white visible. Add one drop of green food colouring and one drop of yellow. Combine flour, ground pistachios and salt, then sift half over the egg mixture and fold in. Repeat this with the remaining flour/pistachio mixture. Turn out the batter onto your half sheet and bake for 8-1o minutes or until the top is slightly light brown. Set aside to cool.
For the lemon white chocolate mousse:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbls unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
In a heavy saucepan, heat lemon juice and butter over medium-high heat. Bring it to barely a boil. In a separate heat proof bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar together until smooth. Slowly pour the hot lemon mixture into the sugar and eggs while whisking rapidly. Return the lemon/egg mixture to the saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly for the next 2-4 minutes. The curd will begin to thicken after about 2 minutes. To test whether the curd is ready, dip a spoon into the pot and draw your finger along the underside. When curd holds the trail pull it off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk until combined. Set aside.
In a second heavy saucepan, heat 1/4 cup heavy cream bringing it just to a boil. Pour over white chocolate and stir until fully melted. Set aside.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment whip cream until you get firm peaks.
When both the lemon curd and white chocolate ganache are cooled to room temperature, pour them into the whipped cream. Fold the mixture gently without deflating the cream too much but combine well. Set aside.
For the vanilla buttercream:
1 cup sugar
5 large egg whites
3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk egg whites and sugar constantly. Keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. You want the sugar to be dissolved and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream (temperature should be about 235-238F). Transfer the mixture to your mixing bowl and with the whisk attachment beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a shiny thick meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. When all the butter has been added and is fully incorporated add the vanilla extract. Beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, about 7 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Assemble the cakes:
Using a large round cookie cutter (4”), cut out cake rounds from the cooled pistachio sponge cake. One tray should get you at least 9 pieces. Place one cake round on a flat surface, spread a thick layer of the lemon, white chocolate mouse, repeat once more and finish with a third cake round on top. Using the vanilla buttercream, crumb coat
the cake then put it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
When the crumb coat is set, pull cake from the freezer and cover with buttercream. Return to the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving.