Saturday, August 10, 2019

Maggie Beer's Pumpkin and Pistachio Cake

I am a big fan of the SBS (formerly ABC) cooking show, The Cook and the Chef.  This show is now more than 10 years old, but I never tire of the re-runs.  The rapport between Maggie Beer (the cook) and Simon Bryant (the chef) is a joy to behold, regardless of what it is that they are cooking.

When I was at home over Christmas last year (yes, an age ago), Maggie Beer made a Pumpkin and Pistachio Cake on The Cook and the Chef (Episode 30, screened originally on 2 September 2009) that I could not get out of my head - it just looked so good.  I went to great lengths to find the recipe as the ABC website referred to on the program no longer exists, and made this cake at a time when I bought a whole pumpkin and made three different pumpkin cake recipes.

This was the end result:

The cake is more pudding-like in texture than cake-like, but it is absolutely delicious, and the pistachio brittle on top of the cake adds a lovely textural contrast to the soft, spongy cake.  It would be lovely served  warm with cream, icecream or crème fraiche on the side. 

If you would like to try making this cake for yourself, you will need:


3 eggs, separated
40g sugar
75g self raising flour
100ml sour cream
100ml extra virgin olive oil
250g pumpkin
1 extra tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup verjuice

Pistachio Brittle

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

Verjuice syrup

1/2 cup verjuice
1/4 cup sugar


Peel and cut the pumpkin into small pieces, toss with the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until soft.  Deglaze the pan with the verjuice, and mash the pumpkin.  Set aside to cool.  Leave the oven on for the cake.

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Beat the egg yolks with 2/3 of the sugar until pale and thick.  Fold in the flour, olive oil, mashed pumpkin and sour cream.

In a clean bowl, place the egg whites and remaining sugar, and beat the egg whites to medium peak stage.  Fold one third of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.


While the cake is baking, put the sugar and water into a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar melts and the mixture turns a deep amber.  Immediately add the pistachios to the pan, and fold through. 

Turn the mixture onto a metal tray oiled lightly with a bit of olive oil.  Allow the mixture to cool and harden.  Break up the resulting toffee into rough pieces, then crush lightly in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle to the desired size.


While the cake is baking, put the verjuice and sugar into a medium saucepan, and boil the mixture until it  becomes a rich amber colour.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour the syrup over the warm cake, then sprinkle with pistachio brittle. 


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

With autumn approaching, a pumpkin cake sounds perfect!! I love the dense texture and crunch of pistachios! xo

Johanna GGG said...

Wow I can see why you had to hunt down this recipe - sounds amazing! I loved that program too but don't tend to watch reruns. It is a shame their recipes are hard to find now and great you have shared this one.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I like the sound of this cake or pudding! I love pumpkin in recipes :D

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Gaye, this cake sounds fabulous - love that the recipe has verjuice and extra virgin olive oil in the batter. The contrast between the crunchy pistachio brittle and the moist cake sounds perfect to me!
What a lovely cake recipe! What a shame though, that it was hard to track down.
Thank you for another inspiring recipe!

Unknown said...

I happen to be watching that episode (on repeat again) this morning .... thank you for making the recipe accessible!! I'm really looking forward to trying this!

Anonymous said...

This was just on again, but I missed the introduction. Did Maggie recommend a particular type of pumpkin for this recipe?

Cakelaw said...

No, she didn’t, but I like Kent for baking.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for posting this recipe. I am a huge fan of 'The Cook & the chef' - there is such joy in their approach to their craft. I watched this episode last night and it looked so lovely I thought I'd give it a go:)
Much appreciated!