Mother’s Day dessert recipe


Prep: 2 hours

Chill: 24 hours

Makes: 12 to 15 servings

Of the three elements in this recipe adapted from “Icebox Cakes,” make the pistachio paste and wafers first. Then 24 hours before serving, whip the cream and assemble the cake. If you want to sub a store-bought cookie, author Jessie Sheehan suggests a thin, crisp cookie such as Jules Destrooper Almond Thins.


• 2 1/4 cups flour

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup sugar

• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

• 1 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste

• 2 tablespoons whole milk

• 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

• 1 cup pistachio paste, see recipe

• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pistachios

• Pistachio-chocolate whipped cream, see recipe


1. For the wafers, whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar, butter and vanilla and almond extracts on medium-low speed until slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes. Do not overbeat. (You can also mix with electric beater or by hand.) Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

2. In a small bowl, whisk milk and corn syrup to combine. Add milk mixture to the butter-sugar mixture with mixer on medium-low speed; beat until just combined. Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add pistachio paste; beat just until incorporated. Add flour mixture all at once. On low speed, beat until dough just begins to pull away from the bottom of the bowl and forms a cohesive mass. Scrape sides of the bowl to fully incorporate all ingredients.

3. Divide dough in half; place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Loosely wrap dough, forming each half into a log about 2 inches wide. Roll logs along the counter, still wrapped in plastic wrap, to shape into cylinders. Tighten plastic wrap around logs; freeze at least 2 hours or overnight. If dough is too soft to shape into logs, form into a disk (or loose log shape), wrap in plastic wrap, then freeze about 20 minutes or just until cold enough to shape into logs.

4. To bake, unwrap one log; cut into thin (about 1/8-inch) slices, rotating log as you cut to keep it from flattening. Place slices about 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet; freeze at least 10 minutes. Repeat with second log. If you need more room for slices, arrange on additional sheets of parchment paper, then layer dough-covered papers on top of each other on a baking sheet in the freezer, switching them out as you bake each batch.

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven; heat to 350 degrees. Bake one baking sheet of frozen rounds until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Using a stiff metal or plastic spatula, immediately press down lightly on each cookie to flatten it. Let wafers cool on the baking sheet, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wafers should be very crispy when cooled. If not, return to the 350 degree oven 1 to 2 minutes longer. Repeat baking additional sheets of dough rounds.

6. While wafers cool, toast 1/2 cup shelled pistachios on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven until they begin to brown and become fragrant, 10-15 minutes. Stir nuts midway through baking to ensure even toasting.

7. Store cooled wafers immediately in an airtight container. They will remain crispy at room temperature, tightly sealed, for about 24 hours. Freeze baked wafers in a resealable plastic bag up to 1 month; you need not defrost wafers before assembling cake. Makes about 60 wafers.

8. To assemble cake, line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap hanging slightly over sides. Spread a generous layer of pistachio-chocolate whipped cream on the bottom of the lined pan. Cover as much of the cream as possible with a layer of wafers; fill gaps with broken wafers. The goal is a solid layer of wafers. Continue layering whipped cream and wafers until you run out or reach the top of the pan, ending with whipped cream. Gently cover cake with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, 24 hours.

9. Peel plastic wrap from top of cake. Place a serving platter over the cake and invert cake onto the platter. Carefully remove pan and plastic-wrap; sprinkle cake with coarsely chopped toasted pistachios. Slice and serve.

Nutrition information per serving (for 15 servings): 440 calories, 34 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 82 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 79 mg sodium, 3 g fiber


Makes: About 6 cups


• 3 cups whipping cream

• 1/2 cup pistachio paste, see recipe

• 1/3 cup each: confectioners’ sugar, Dutch-process cocoa powder

• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste

• 1/8 teaspoon salt


Pour cream into a chilled metal bowl; whip on medium speed until just thickened. Add pistachio paste, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, almond extract and salt; whip on medium-high speed until cream holds stiff peaks that stand upright when whisk is raised; the stiffer the cream, the more support it will give wafers in your cake. Use immediately.



Combine 2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a food processor; pulse until nuts are finely chopped, about 90 seconds. Do not overprocess, or nuts will get too buttery. Transfer processed pistachios to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter; beat on medium speed just until a thick paste forms. (Alternatively, beat with electric beaters.) Paste will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes: about 1 1/2 cups

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