I was planning to write on a different topic today, but when you're inspired, sometimes you have to go where the wind blows you.
Today, the wind was blowing in the a pale green direction, and I'm not talking St. Patrick's Day here (although a person certainly could, were a person so inclined).
The inspiration of the day? Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Coconut Ice Cream. Oh yes. We're just that crazy around here.
My coworkers joined forces for a boffo birthday cake combination, and it turns out, this one's not too difficult for mere mortals to pull off.
Whack! Pow! Suzy Hotrod cranked out a standard carrot cake (with gooey cream cheese frosting), but she threw an extra cup or so of chopped pistachios into the batter and saved another handful for sprinkling around the top. Easy, nutty, tasty... and green!
Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave, Kate whipped up a coconut ice cream, but used a hint of saffron for its sunny hue and unmistakable flavor.
Together, they're like Batman and Robin... a dynamic duo. But don't take my word for it... try for yourself.
Pistachio Carrot Cake (Makes a 13" x 9" cake)
For the cake
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 cups sugar (all white or half white/half brown)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pistachios
For the Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice
1 cup chopped pistachios (for garnish)
1. Heat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and the two teaspoons of vanilla.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then blend into the wet ingredients. Stir in carrots and pistachios.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. (Or simply leave in the pan and frost the top.)
For the frosting: In a mixing bowl, whip the butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla or lemon juice. Beat until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle reserved pistachios across the surface.
Saffron-Coconut Ice Cream (Makes about 1 1/2 quarts)
1 cup milk
1 pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut (not coconut milk!)
1. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the milk and the pinch of saffron. Heat just until milk is hot, but not boiling. Stir and allow the mixture to steep 10 minutes before moving to the refrigerator to chill completely.
2. Strain out the saffron threads (optional) and whisk together the chilled saffron milk with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, the cream and the cream of coconut.
3. Freeze the mix using an ice cream machine or attachment, then pack into pints and harden in the freezer for at least 5 hours (or overnight).
So then, what have we learned today? Pistachios are yummy. Cake and ice cream are yummy. Distribution of labor is totally yummy.
Good lessons, indeed. I think that about does it for today. See you back here at the same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.