Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cinq-Cinquièmes à la Pistache Végétalienne

When the weather gets warm and sunny, I want to go to Europe. It’s a curse or something. The first big trip I ever took was to Spain – it was with my school after first year, it was May, and we toured around like mad, spending no more than three days in each city, for three weeks straight. Not sure that I’d do that again, but I digress. We’d get up early every day, eat breakfast at our hotel (usually coffee with hot milk and some sort of pastry – I wasn’t a vegan back then) and then off into the city we were, to look at museums and buildings. Something about the sun (it was sunny every single day) and the morning breeze, and the activity of big cities like Barcelona and Madrid… I am reminded of it every year around this time and I want to go traveling.

Unfortunately I have not the means to go traveling this year, so I like to indulge in my nostalgia and make European-style food (in my mind, at least) instead. Not just Spanish, either - this one’s French. When I was making it, I thought of that scene in Amélie where she’s making her plum cake and realizes she’s out of yeast. I love that movie. Now I want to make plum cake, too.

So I found this recipe online, and adapted it a bit:

Cinq-Cinquièmes à la Pistache Végétalienne


Egg replacer to replace 3 eggs (I used the powdered kind)
¾ cup earth balance margarine

¾ cup dark cane sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rosewater

½ teaspoon cardamom

1 1/3 cup flour (I bet spelt would work well, in which case you’d need an extra 2 tablespoons)

1 1/3 cup raw pistachios, roasted and chopped
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.

With a hand-blender, mix the margarine and sugar until creamy. Add the egg replacer slowly, and then the vanilla and rosewater, mixing well. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the flour, pistachios, baking powder and cardamom. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Pour into the cake pan (don’t worry if the batter seems too thick – it’s supposed to be) and smooth out the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This isn’t the healthiest cake ever, but it was pretty yummy – light and fluffy, and the cardamom/rosewater addition was quite nice. Next time I’ll play with using spelt flour and reducing the amount of sugar/margarine. And maybe I’ll try soy yogurt instead of the egg replacer, we’ll see.

On a side note: I really wish someone would write a French vegan cookbook. Maybe someone already has and I don’t know about it – if so, please tell me!

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