Pistachio cream and sesame custard make a winning pair

Sweet finish from a dessert competition
JERRY ANNE DI VECCHIO

Pistachio Cream Cake

Every year, winemaker Andrew Quady invites pastry professionals to pair their finest desserts with one of his winery's elegant dessert wines. The grand prize goes to the combination that makes the most magic. The contest has a bittersweet side, though: Some stellar desserts are not wine friendly and so fall by the wayside.

One memorable example was this cardamom-perfumed pistachio layer cake created by pastry chef James Osborne. He presented the nut-studded beauty, wrapped and filled with softly whipped cream, with a most unusual sesame seed-flavored custard sauce.

Although groaning from our indulgent duty, my fellow judges and I gave the cake a rare gesture of praise ― we had seconds.