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The Nutty, Citrusy Dessert That'll Use Up Your Leftover Egg Whites

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This article is brought to you by Ten Speed Press. Head here to learn more about the recently released cookbook Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy.

If you're like me and there are times when your refrigerator is overflowing with extra egg whites—following family-sized platters of cacio e pepe, ice cream-making Saturdays, Hollandaise-laden brunches—but you occasionally forget to plan accordingly for following through on using them (i.e. are hovering over the trashcan with them), wait! Don't toss those whites.

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Stick 'em in a little container and pop them right into the fridge (they'll keep for a few days), assemble citrus and nuts, and make this cake.

Pistachio Meringue Cake with Citrus, Candied Kumquats, & Cardamom Caramel Sauce
Pistachio Meringue Cake with Citrus, Candied Kumquats, & Cardamom Caramel Sauce

The words building blocks come up more than once in Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, the new cookbook from longtime Portland restauranteur and chef Naomi Pomeroy, and I think they apply aptly to this wildly delicious, cool weather-appropriate dessert. Each component—the egg white-poufed batter, the candied citrus, the spiced caramel sauce—are all building blocks to add to a home cook's repertoire, to build confidence in the kitchen and push your limits ever so slightly.

I particularly love this nutty, spicy, fruity cake that uses one of my favorite little citrus fruits, kumquats, and adds one of my favorite spices, cardamom, to the simple salted caramel sauce that it's served with. Every other line or so in the headnote and recipe seems to be sharing a new tip or note to stick in your backpack of techniques for later use—what to sub in if you don't have pistachios; how to make sure your egg whites are as fluffy as can be; the size the nuts should be to keep the cake from deflating; why the pan you use for the caramel sauce should have high sides; and how the cake should feel (springy!) coming out of the oven. Most important, it seems, is to not let any egg yolks near the cake—they'll futz with the texture of the whipped whites if there's any trace of them.

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Down & Dirty: Tiny Citrus
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Down & Dirty: Tiny Citrus

Bonus: Extra candied kumquats can be saved in the refrigerator for snacking on for up to two weeks, and should also probably grace the likes of your oatmeal, yogurt, and ice cream.

Bonus number two: The caramel is designed to be pourable straight from the fridge, so you know what to do—add it to coffee, to your kumquat-flanked ice cream, or just dunk a spoon directly in it.

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Pistachio Meringue Cake with Citrus, Candied Kumquats, & Cardamom Caramel Sauce

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Serves 8

For the candied kumquats and cardamom caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 medium or 15 small kumquats
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon decorticated (outer green husk removed) cardamom seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky finishing salt

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, plus
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups raw, unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 red grapefruit
  • Whipped crème fraîche

This article is brought to you by Ten Speed Press. Head here to learn more about the recently released cookbook Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy.

Tags: ten speed publishing, taste & technique, naomi pomeroy