Succes aux noisettes

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
6 Egg whites, at room temp.
2½ tablespoon Sugar
2½ cup Sugar, powdered, sifted,
1 cup Milk
4 Egg yolks
⅓ cup Sugar, plus
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 cup Butter, unsalted, at plus more as needed
¾ cup Almonds, ground, blanched room temperature
4 ounces Hazelnut Praline Paste *
1½ cup Almonds, toasted, sliced (about 4 ounces) **

ALMOND MERINGUE LAYERS

HAZELNUT PRALINE BUTTERCREAM

* Available at specialty stores or by mail order from H. Roth and Sons,

1577 First Avenue, New York, New York, 10028, (212)-734-1110 ** Simply toast almonds at 350 F for 7 to 10 minutes.

For Almond Meringue: ==================== Preheat the oven to 325 F. Cut out three 10-inch parchment paper circles and one 10-inch cardboard circle. Set the parchment circles on baking sheets.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gradually add 2½ tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until stiff. Combine 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar and ground almonds; fold into egg whites.

Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a no. 6 round tip.

(A number six tip leaves a round, tube-like stream a little less than a half inch in diameter.) Pipe meringue onto parchment circles, starting in the center and spiraling outward just to the edge. Dust lightly with powdered sugar. Bake the circles until crisp and very lightly golden (25 to 30 minutes.) Cool on racks.

For Buttercream: ================ Place a medium bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Set Aside.

Bring milk to the boiling point in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a large mixer bowl until smooth.

Gradually add ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue berating until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted (about 7 minutes.)

Gradually add boiling milk to yolk mixture, beating constantly to avoid the yolk curdling. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook over low heat - stirring with a wooden spoon, for 30 seconds.

Immediately pour custard into the bowl set over ice water.

Cool, stirring occasionally.

Beat the butter and praline paste in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in cooled custard.

To Assemble: ============

Using cardboard as a guide, trim meringues to even circles.

Carefully peel off the parchment paper. Choose 1 meringue with a smooth bottom and set aside.

Spread ⅓ of the cream onto 1 meringue layer. Top with a second meringue, centering it over the bottom layer. Smooth on another layer of buttercream. Top with remaining meringue, smooth side up, pressing gently. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining buttercream. Gently press sliced almonds onto sides and top with a spatula.

Dust about 2 inches of rim and 2-inch circle in center with powdered sugar. Transfer to serving platter. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving in wedges.

Source: New York's Master Chefs, Bon Appetit Magazine : Written by Richard Sax, Photographs by Nancy McFarland : The Knapp Press, Los Angeles, 1985 Chef: Jean-Jacques Rachou, La Cote Basque Restaurant, New York

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