Winter weekends are made for languid lunches with friends – and Gretchen Lowe of My Weekend Table does them better than anyone. Here’s a sweet taster from the Persian-themed menu she created for the winter issue of homestyle.
Persian bundt cake with orange caramel
This easy cake recipe is made special with the bundt tin shape and a sprinkling of pistachio nuts and dried rose petals. The cake can be made a day or two in advance, as the orange caramel sauce will keep it moist.
220g golden caster sugar
250ml natural yogurt
150g ground almonds
150g self-raising flour
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
Zest of one lemon and half an orange
50g chopped pistachios
2 Tbsp rose water
100ml whole milk
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
320ml orange juice
3 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 Tbsp water or orange juice
Preheat the oven to 140˚C and grease your pan. Beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy. Gently fold in the yogurt.
Next, fold in the ground almonds, flour, spices, citrus zest and chopped pistachios. Finally add the rose water and the milk, stirring gently (the mixture will be wet).
Bake in the centre of the oven for between 45 minutes and an hour or until a skewer comes away clean. Leave the cake to cool for 10-20 minutes in the pan before transferring onto a cooling rack.
While the cake is cooling make the caramel. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and cook until caramel (4-6 minutes). Add juice (be careful as hot caramel will spit), stir until dissolved (1-2 mins), add cornflour mixture, whisk until thickened, bring to the boil and set aside.
Drizzle warm syrup over the cake and scatter with decorations such as fresh figs, rose petals and extra pistachios.
Once the cake has cooled completely and the syrup has soaked in, dust lightly with icing sugar.
Rose & Cherry fizz
When we knew Gretchen had a Persian themed menu planned, homestyle editor Alice put her cocktail making skills into practice for a drink to match. This can either be served martini style, or topped up with soda water as a long drink.
Place the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake well. Strain into coupe style glasses. Top with a dash of soda or rose champagne. Garnish with rose petals.
For more recipes from Gretchen, pick up a copy of the June/July ’16 issue of homestyle.