Know Your Pistachio

You know that feeling when you find a $5 note in your jeans' pocket that you forgot you had? I had that pleasant surprise as I was cleaning out my fridge this morning when I found a pot of pistachio paste tucked away in the corner of the very bottom drawer of my cooler. I completely forgot I had bought it to make the "Buche Pistache-Chocolat" last christmas. Good thing this heavily sugared, green concoction withstands the test of time very well. In case you're wondering, the expiry date is February of 2013!

So wasting no time at all, I went into "mad scientist" mode to conceive some sort of delicious pistachio dessert. I chose to stick with the tried and true pistachio and dark chocolate pairing. And after some baking, cooling and a little waiting.. these super tasty mini cakes came into fruition. I was very excited to finally use Pierre Herme's flourless dark chocolate cake recipe too! This cake is super good and light in texture. I think it complements the light textures of the other components very nicely.

The glaze is so shiny you can see my reflection (wearing pyjama pants)

Chocolate and Pistachio Cakes
- Yields 8
each cake is 6cm in diameter and 4cm in height

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake
55 g dark chocolate
45 g butter - softened
50 g sugar
1/2 t cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites

1) Melt chocolate - bring to 45 degrees C
2) Beat butter with one-third of sugar and cocoa powder until creamy, add yolks and mix with hand mixer or whisk. Don't be alarmed if mixture curdles - this is normal.
3) Add melted chocolate and whisk until just mixed. Mixture will be smooth and homogenous.
4) Whip egg whites with remaining sugar until firm
5) Using a large rubber spatula, stir one quarter of the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest - being careful not to deflate the mixture.
Your batter should be light and voluminous prior to piping
6) Spread or pipe out onto a baking tray - about 0.8mm thick
7) Bake at 170 degrees C until set, without it coloring - around 15 minutes.
8) Leave to cool, and cut into 8 discs to fit the base of the cake and 8 smaller ones to go inside the cake.
Cake cooling..

Chocolate Mousse
50 g egg yolks
25 g sugar
25 ml water
100 g dark chocolate - melted, keep at 45 degrees C
200 ml cream - whipped stiff and refrigerated

1) Whisk egg yolks well together.
2) Bring sugar and water to the boil. Pour into the egg yolk in a steady stream, whisking all the while. Keep whisking until the mixture has increased significantly in volume and lightened in colour.
3) When the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature, add to the cream.
4) Fold lightly with a large spatula until partially incorporated.
5) Add one quarter to the melted chocolate and whisk well to incorporate.
6) Add the rest of the egg and cream mixture to the chocolate and fold with a large whisk until just incorporated.

Creme Mousseline Pistache
120 g butter - cubed, at room temperature
240 ml whole milk
3 egg yolks
65 g sugar
20 g custard powder
40 g pistachio paste

1) Whisk egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Add the cornstarch and whisk well.
2)Heat up milk to a gentle simmer. Pour a third of the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisk together and pour whole thing back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring and mixing well with a whisk.
3) Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add half of butter, cover with plastic wrap (on contact to prevent a skin forming) and allow to cool completely.
3) When cream is at 18-20 degrees C, whip in pistachio paste and remaining butter until smooth.
Pistachio mousseline.

Chocolate Glaze
150 ml whipping cream
50 g glucose
130 g sugar
60 g unsweetened cocoa powder
2.5 gelatin leaves

1) Combine glucose, cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil
2) Add cocoa powder and gelatin and mix well with a whisk
3) Strain into a bowl and cover with cling wrap (in contact) and leave to cool and thicken to glazing consistency

1) Place mousse into a piping bag with a 10mm tip.
2) Pipe at the base of moulds and spread with a spatula up to cover the sides.
3) Add in the smaller discs and cover with a little more mousse.

4) Place in the freezer to harden slightly.
5) Pipe in the pistachio mousseline and place the larger discs to cover.

6) Freeze well.
7) Unmould cakes by submerging the mould slightly in warm water and turning it out onto a tray.
8) Glaze with a ladle over a grill and tray
9) Decorate as you desire!

I decorated my cakes with chocolate spheres enrobed by large leaves of edible gold, and also some gold specks. I might have gone a little overboard with the gold, yes. But I feel that some bling gives cakes a regal quality! 

I love the look of a cluster of cakes.

Before degustation..

After a large spoonful.. 

Verdict: delicious. This one's definitely a keeper.

x Tal

ps. my blog is now on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/TalitasKitchen :)


  1. Oooh my. Gorgeous! Loved it :)

  2. Hello again, have you considered writing a cookbook? Looking at the first photo I thought this is beyond me but you make it seem rather effortless -maybe the pyjama cookbook :-D

    1. Wow! Very cute concept!! I definitely have to credit you on that if it gets used one day.. Hehehhe x

  3. You're welcome :)

  4. Talita you are an awesome artist..when I look at your creations i feel is it possible to make such perfect piece of edible art!!! I am a vegetarian and don't eat/use eggs still I print your recipes and keep it in my collection... Love love love...

  5. Anonymous16.10.13

    hi Talita, where did you get your silicone moulds? Its difficult to get them from Jakarta or Singapore.

  6. hi kak talita, I love your blog so much and I wanna try this recipe..but unfortunately I can't find pistachio paste in jogja. I will substitute it with my home made pistachio butter, hope it works like pistachio paste do :)

  7. Anonymous14.1.15

    Beautiful!Thank you for spending the recipe, make a living making delicious news to a small group of people with more recipes like this can dream something else thank you for sharing such a delight!
    Martha Cristaldo (marthaparaguaia@hotmail.com.br)

  8. Mama mia! Beautiful!

  9. Anonymous28.4.15

    HI. What is the gold stuff on top

  10. Hi!
    Wow it`s Amazing!
    I have a question- it says Freeze well. How many hours?

  11. Anonymous17.4.17

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative website. wedding cakes birmingham al

  12. Anonymous28.5.17

    Beautiful and inspiring! Is the 50g of glucose in syrup or powder form? Thanks

  13. Talita it’s hard to get gelatin leaves where i stay, can powder gelatin be used n in what quantity, plz do reply

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  20. Hi Talita. What is the brand name of the pistachio paste you used?