Almond brittle

Almond brittle

Croccante alle mandorle

By
From
The Italian Baker
Makes
6 large pieces

This doesn’t involve baking as such, but is so yummy I had to include it in the book. I would call it a treat, or a sin actually, due to the amount of sugar in it. Its origins are not very clear. Some say it was invented by the Spanish during the second half of the 15th century. Others credit it to the Italians, but one thing is sure, the famous Italian writer and gastronomist Pellegrino Artusi decided to include the recipe in his great book “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene” (Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well), published in 1800.

I had the best croccante while in one of my favourite restaurants, Ottone Primo, in Sarzana. They make an amazing thin and crispy croccante and it is to them that I dedicate my version. With a glass of fine dessert wine this makes the perfect ending to a good meal, and your friends will agree. Stored in an airtight container, it will keep for a long time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
olive oil, for greasing
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
100g blanched almonds

Method

  1. Pour a little oil onto a large sheet of baking parchment and rub it over the entire surface. Set aside.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a large frying pan set over a medium heat, making sure the sugar is spread in an even layer. Let the sugar melt, swirling the pan every so often but without stirring. It will take about 3 minutes for the sugar to turn golden.
  3. Meanwhile, warm the almonds in a microwave or low oven to allow them to barely warm up but not toast (warming them avoids a cold ingredient coming into contact with the hot caramel). Once the caramel starts to turn golden, add the warmed almonds and stir to fully coat the almonds in the caramel. You don’t want the caramel too brown or it will taste bitter.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the oiled sheet of baking parchment and spread the caramel with a greased spatula until 1–1.5 cm thick. Take care, as it is still very, very hot at this stage. Leave to cool completely before cutting into shapes using a long knife or breaking into pieces. Arrange on a serving dish and enjoy.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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