Remember the raw avocado cake from a few weeks ago? Seemed to be a hit, and it makes total sense to me — it’s raw, it’s wholesome, it’s delicious, it’s interesting, it’s super fast to make, and it’s a raw cake that features no nuts or coconut oil (or any oil) — a rare find in the sea of nutty (and coconutty) raw cheesecakes out there. However, a girl needs her options, so when I found myself longing for something a little more exotic, of course I wandered into the kitchen and a new version of the cake happened, but this time all dressed up… Hello orange blossom water and pistachios! Now if you’re not a fan of tasting avocado in your dessert (I know you’re out there!) this version is for you, because every hint of avocado-ness completely disappears thanks to the appearance of orange blossom water.
Orange blossom water is one of those unique, incredible flavors that you’ll often find in many Middle Eastern desserts, but is sadly rather neglected in North American cuisine. Personally, I think that needs to change ASAP. If you’ve never tried an orange blossom dessert, you are most definitely missing out. For those of you who HAVE tried Middle Eastern treats and loved them, but just couldn’t put your finger on what that incredible flavor was that you were detecting — I bet you it was orange blossom water (or rose water — the two are on par). It’s a rather unique and fragrant flavor, and it can upscale a dessert in seconds and with just a few drops.
Before you think I’m pushing some fancy “unicorn tears” ingredient on you here, don’t worry ;) — the good news is that orange blossom water happens to be inexpensive. We’re talking just a few dollars. This is the brand I use from Amazon, and if you can find it locally it’s even cheaper at shops that have a decent ethnic aisle. This bottle will last you a loooooong time. And you can make amazing things with it. Like hariseh cake (which I’ll share a recipe for soon), or the pistachio orange blossom cheesecake gracing the cover of Unconventional Treats. Use it in this bundt cake in place of rose water… I’ve got a few upcoming treats featuring it to share soon, too.
In a pinch, if you can’t find orange blossom water to make this cake, use orange extract. It’ll be nice. But much nicer with the orange blossom <3
I paired this flavor with my favorite nut — pistachios. The result is extremely delicious, and I like the lightness and texture of pistachios sometimes as compared to other nuts and seeds. But most importantly I LOVED them in this cake because of the funfetti factor — just look inside that slice — those speckles are so pretty and yes, that’s the kind of thing I get excited about :)
Of course the cake is still largely nut-free, so if you prefer to not use nuts, use pumpkin seeds in the crust in place of pistachios, and omit the pistachios in the center. You can also do an oaty crust — gluten-free quick oats in place of nuts and seeds will work. But I must say… funfetti is where it’s at ;)
- ½ cup raw pistachios
- 6 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 medium avocados, de-seeded and peeled
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp orange blossom water
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ cup raw pistachios
- Chopped pistachios for sprinkling, edible flowers (I used white Chrysanthemums)
- Place all crust ingredients, except maple syrup, into a food processor and process into a crumble. Add maple syrup and process again into a sticky crumble. Transfer this mixture into a 5" springform pan and press into a crust along the base and sides. Place in the freezer while working on the next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients, except pistachios, in a high speed blender until a smooth mixture forms (you may need to pause and scrape down the sides, or use your Vitamix tamper). Add in pistachios and pulse or blend so that they are not fully blended and you can still see visible specs in the filling. Transfer the mixture into your prepared crust shell. Carefully smooth out the top to even it out. Sprinkle with any decorative toppings. Freeze for 4-5 hours or overnight. Enjoy! Keep leftovers frozen.