Monday, December 14, 2015

Pomegranate Soaked Apple Cake with Pistachio Streusel


I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a version of this cake while flipping through a German cooking magazine.  I knew I had to make my own version for the holidays.


The secret to the flavor of this cake is soaking the apple pieces overnight in a mixture of pomegranate juice and syrup. This not only amps up the taste but turns the apple slices a lovely shade of red which makes the cake so pretty. 





The streusel contains pistachios which provide unique flavor and color. I was going for a subtle red and green seasonal theme. You don't have to stick to pistachios.  Use your favorite nut or combination of nuts or use whatever variety you have on hand.
This recipe is for a sheet cake, so it feeds a lot of people. Very handy if you have a stampede of relatives at your holiday table. 

It's also great if you only want to make one dessert for a lot of people. You won't have to figure out doubling a recipe or make one recipe multiple times. Serve with some store bought good quality vanilla ice cream and call it a night. 
Pomegranate Soaked Apple Cake with Pistachio Streusel


Prep Time: 45 minutes 
Bake Time: 40 minutes 
Marinate Time: 24 hours
Yield: 16 pieces 
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs granny smith or your choice of sour apples 
  • 1+1/2 cups pomegranate syrup (recipe follows)
  • 4 cups pure pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachio nuts, plus additional for garnish, if desired.
  • 3/4 cup raw or muscovado sugar
  • 1+1/2 cups (3 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 2+3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
Directions:
  • In a large bowl mix together the pomegranate syrup and pomegranate juice.
  • Wash the apples and pat dry. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into thin slices.
  • Place the apple slices in the pomegranate syrup/juice mixture. Make sure they are completely submerged in the liquid. If too many pieces are floating on the top of the liquid, place a small dish on top of the floating apples to keep the apple slices under the liquid. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 
  • Chop the pistachio nuts into small pieces. 
  • Place the rolled oats, pistachio nuts, raw sugar and 1 stick plus two tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a bowl and use your hands to rub the mixture together until it forms streusel crumbs. You can also use a fork to mix the streusel. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and place in the refrigerator. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 
  • In a mixer, cream together the rest of the butter (2 sticks or 1 cup) together with the white granulated sugar until creamy. 
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the edges of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla and continue to beat the mixture on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes, until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time one after the other, making sure each are fully incorporated before adding the next. 
  • Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. 
  • Stop the mixer when the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated into the batter. 
  • Strain the apples from the pomegranate liquid. Reserve the liquid for later use or discard. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Line a 11 x 12 baking sheet with baking or parchment paper and grease the paper. 
  • Spread the batter evenly out onto the baking sheet. 
  • Place the apple slices on top of the batter. Make sure you lay them all in one direction and in rows as neat as you can. 
  • Remove the pistachio streusel from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the top of the apple pieces. 
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes and then transfer the cake to a cooling rack. 
  • When cake has cooled completely, cut into pieces, place on a decorative plate and serve. 
  • If desired, scatter additional chopped raw pistachio nuts over the top for garnish before serving. 
Pomegranate Syrup Recipe:

Ingredients:
4 cups pure pomegranate juice (do not use a sugared variety or a mix with other juices) 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
1 teaspoon lemon zest.

Directions:
Heat the pomegranate juice in a saucepan. When it starts to get warm, stir in the sugar. When the sugar starts to dissolve, add the lemon juice and zest to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved into the liquid. When the mixture some to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 40-45 minutes. It should reduce significantly. When it turns into a syrup consistency, remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

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