Though deeply rooted in ancient Greece, this piquant dish is sensational when made with premium Australian olive oils and wines. If you can, buy sushi-grade tuna steaks.
For the tuna:
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup Concord grapes
- 1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
- 4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon sanding sugar (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper, and lightly coat it with baking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Over another large bowl to catch the juice, slice the grapes in half and remove and discard the seeds; set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with the confectioner’s sugar until powdery. Add the 2 whole eggs, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla extract, and then pulse about 6 times to incorporate the ingredients. Add half of the flour mixture, then the olive oil, and then the remaining flour mixture, pulsing a few times between each addition. Transfer the batter to the bowl you used for the flour, and fold in any juice that’s collected in the bowl of grapes.
In a clean, large bowl, whisk the egg whites on a low speed until foamy, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold a large spoonful of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being sure to incorporate the batter at the very bottom of the bowl. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top, and then sprinkle on the grapes and, if you’re using it, the sanding sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until there’s no wobble in the center and a knife used to test comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, and then release the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature.
Yields 10-12 servings