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From Bill Granger’s Simply bill (page 221)

Remember, a few days ago I was wondering about how to use the tons of apricots from my backyard.
I got some lovely ideas from Joycelyn: slow roasted apricots in orange caramel; from Melissa: chilled apricot soup with Muscat and from Estelle: tarte renversée aux abricots et au sucre muscovado.
These recipes sound good for sure, but I didn’t have le coup de foudre you need to have when discovering a recipe for the first time.

Then I completely forgot about apricots and decided to just have them fresh from the tree or in a chilled drink.
That’s only when I started browsing for a pistachio cake recipe through my cookbooks that I found the best way to use these apricots for a sophisticated dessert – pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup.

The recipe originally calls for fresh figs. But figs aren’t available yet here. Though, I was determined to make this cake with or without the figs.

Aren’t pistachio and apricots known for being a winner combination? I had find: 1) a recipe to use the apricots I had been stocking and 2) a substitute for the figs.

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
This cake reminds me of lazy afternoon spent on a charming terrace in Rabat, drinking delicious thé à la menthe and tons of homemade patisseries.
The breeze, the sea, the perfumes… are set back in my mind at each bite. These days are one of the best I’ve had and thus this cake is high-placed on my top-ten favourites.
It’s definitely airy and all the flavours go so well together: pistachio, apricot and orange blossom. In one word, the Moroccan essence!

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup

serves 10

140g shelled pistachios
6 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
185g yoghurt
125ml light-flavoured oil (fanny: i used 100ml canola oil and 25ml extra virgin olive oil)
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
Finely grind the pistachios in a food processor.
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the yogurt and oil. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold. Add the ground pistachios.
In a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually add the remaining sugar until very firm and glossy. Gently fold into the cake mixture.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Leave to cool completely in the tin and unmould. Serve with the orange blossom syrup and the roasted apricots.

for the orange blossom syrup
225g caster sugar
125ml freshly squeezed orange juice
125ml water
1 tsp orange blossom water

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy.

for the roasted apricots (adapted from Claudia Fleming’s Roasted apricots with camomile)
10 apricots, halved and pitted
orange blossom syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sieve the syrup into a roasting tray. Place the apricots in the syrup, cut side down, then roast for about 10 minutes. Turn them over, baste with the syrup and roast for another 5 minutes. Keep aside both the apricots and the syrup.