Momofuku must be my forever love! I simply adore the way Christina Tosi assumed her role as a food provider and dessert creator, her creativity and the way she turned something she loves into an empire more or less. Sure, all her desserts are really sweet, they are what she calls fast desserts, tiny bits that you can take with you and eat without problems. But the layering and the idea of not actually decorating the cake with much is stunning. At the end of the day, this Pistachio Momofuku Style Citrus Cake shines through its layers and honestly it does not need anything else. Pistachio is the king of pastry, I gotta say! It’s incredible on its own, but also combined with plenty of aromas, from citrus fruits to raspberry or mango, but also passion fruit, strawberries, pineapple and the list can easily go on!
I do find the Momofuku desserts a tad too sweet, so most of my Christina Tosi inspired cakes or desserts have a lesser amount of sugar or a few of their elements exchanged with others. And that is the case with this cake as well. I did keep the pistachio sponge which I found to be amazing – dense and rich, packed with pistachio taste, just how I like it. But I used a citrus cream that I made before countless times and I adapted a bit the buttercream with less sugar. The crunchy elements, in my case the croustillant, were supposed to be crumble pieces, but I do know from past recipes that the crumble tends to be quite sweet.
The final cake had an amazing color and an incredible pistachio taste with refreshing notes of lemon and lime. And I love a cake that is balanced like that, a cake that creates contrasts and knows how to deliver them. Pistachio does need something to brighten it as it tends to be quite fatty otherwise. But I am thinking that maybe next time I could use a raspberry compote instead of the citrus cream. Wouldn’t that look and taste amazing?!
It’s not a cake for the faint of heart for sure! It might seem complex and the pistachio paste is not that easy to find or make either. But it is a cake that makes pistachio the star so if you do love this flavor as much as me, it is worth a try!
Pistachio paste is a fine paste made only from pistachio, raw or slightly baked or a mix of both, whilst pistachio praline is a mix of pistachio and caramelized sugar. The tastes are slightly different and they are not interchangeable as one contains no sugar and the other has sugar (usually 50%). They can be found in specialty stores or made at home with a good food processor. The good news is that if you do have pistachio paste, you can easily make praline by mixing equal parts of pistachio paste and caramelized sugar in a food processor and blending until a smooth paste forms.
How to make Momofuku Style Pistachio Citrus Cake
Pistachio Momofuku Style Citrus Cake
Pistachio sponge cake:
- 160 g pistachio paste
- 75 g glucose syrup
- 180 g egg whites
- 280 g powdered sugar
- 110 g almond flour
- 75 g vegetable oil (grape seeds oil preferably)
- 55 g heavy cream
- 160 g all-purpose flour
- 6 g baking powder
- 6 g salt
- 150 g eggs
- 130 g white sugar
- 130 g lemon + lime juice
- the zest from 1 lemon and 1 lime
- 140 g butter (room temperature)
- 140 g butter (room temperature)
- 45 g pistachio paste
- 50 g powdered sugar
- 2 g salt
- 60 g water
- 40 g white sugar
- 15 g lemon juice
- zest from 1 lime
- 60 g pistachio praline
- 70 g paillete feuilletine
- 75 g white chocolate (melted)
Pistachio sponge cake:
- Combine the pistachio paste and glucose syrup and mix well.
- Add the egg whites, gradually, mixing all the time at medium to high speed.
- Mix the powdered sugar and almond flour then add it to the pistachio and whites mix. Continue whipping at high speed.
- Stream in the vegetable oil, then do the same with the heavy cream.
- Mix the flour with the salt and baking powder and add it to the batter.
- Combine well then transfer into a 35x25cm cake frame.
- Level the batter well then bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Don’t overbake as it might dry out!
- Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon and lime juice plus zest in a small pot and place over low heat.
- Cook, mixing all the time, until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Strain through a fine sieve then cool down to 40C.
- Add the softened butter and blend well.
- Keep in the fridge until assembling.
- Combine the butter and pistachio paste and mix well.
- Add the sugar and salt and give it a good mix.
- Keep aside until assembling.
- Combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Strain through a fine sieve and cool down.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Spoon 1/4 of the croustillant into small pieces on a sheet of baking paper and refrigerate. These will be the decor later.
- Keep the remaining croustillant in the bowl at room temperature until assembling.
To assemble the cake:
- Cut 2 discs of pistachio sponge cake – 18cm diameter. Keep the cake scraps to build a third layer of sponge cake later.
- Arrange a sheet of acetate in a 18cm diameter cake ring.
- Using the cake scraps, build your first layer, pressing the cake well to ensure and even layer.
- Brush the sponge cake with sugar syrup then spoon in 1/3 of the buttercream and level well.
- Add 1/3 of the citrus cremeux, followed by pieces of croustillant.
- Place a disc of sponge cake on top and press to make sure the cake is leveled.
- Follow the same layering as before: syrup, 1/3 of the buttercream, 1/3 of the citrus cremeux, croustillant.
- Place the last disc of cake on top and press well.
- Cover the final layer of cake with the remaining pistachio buttercream and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
- Keep the remaining 1/3 of citrus cremeux for decorating later.
- Once the cake has chilled, remove the cake ring and acetate sheet.
- Decorate with the citrus cremeux you kept aside and the croustillant pieces. The final touch might as well be a few slices of lemon or lime.