Today is the first day of a holy Islamic month Ramadan. So it happens I live in Turkey and cannot ignore local traditions, that is after the sunset to gather around the table for iftar ( meal after fast). Traditionally iftar is started with some dates and followed by loads of appetizers, main dishes and dessert. That is why I decided to welcome Ramadan with the cake made from all local ingredients. Originally I found the recipe in Jamie Oliver's latest book 'Jamie Does' Greek food section. But it was so similar to Turkish yogurt and semolina cake, that I gave it a try! Absolutely lovely and moist cake, perfect with seasonal fruit, ice-cream or fresh yogurt! Great for afternoon tea or as a part of iftar dessert!
What we need:
For the sponge:
5 large eggs
225ml natural yogurt
225 gr sugar
75 gr ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon and orange
150gr of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
200ml of mild olive oil
For the topping:
150gr shelled pistachios
150 gr runny honey
seasonal fruit or berries ( I used figs as they are at their best in August, but Jamie Oliver suggests using strawberries)
Yogurt ( I would suggest using yogurt or a lovely scoop of vanilla ice-cream)
What we have to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2. Mix all the sponge ingredients in a large bowl. Grease a cake tin with a little olive oil, then dust over a sprinkling of flour and shake the tin about. Spoon in the sponge mixture from the bowl and use a spatula to spread it evenly.
3. Put the cake into the hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and cooked through. When done, remove from the oven and put it aside to cool for about half an hour.
4. When you are about to serve the cake, toast pistachios in a dry saucepan over a low to medium heat. Once they start to get colour, use a rolling pin to gently crush a few of them. Add the honey to the pan and give it a good stir. Squeeze the juice of zested orange and lemon, then boil for 1-2 minutes.
5. Stab the cake all over with a small knife to create holes for the syrup to sink into, then pour the pistachios and syrup all over the top and use the back of the spoon to smooth and spread it out. Leave for 15 min or longer for the syrup to be soaked up.
6. While it's still warm, slice your cake and serve with some chopped fruit and a good dallop of yogurt on the side! Heaven!