Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Pastry Forum Day 1: Nuts

This next section was the most mundane and yet the most memorable for me - we candied nuts. But we didn't just candy them, we turned many of them into pralines and marzipan.

Almond Praliné
560 g Almond with skins
240 g Almond without skins
850 g Granulated Sugar
260 g Water
1 Vanilla bean

Hazelnut Praliné
800 g Hazelnut with skin
675 g Granulated sugar
195 g Water
1 Vanilla bean

Both follow the same process. Boil sugar and water to 118ºC. Pour over the nuts and return to a flame. The mixture will sizzle and the sugar will crystallize.

Then we toss and fold over the heat.

And toss and fold...

and toss and fold til you feel like your arms are going to fall off. Once the sugar remelts and caramelizes then be sure the sides of the bowl are scraped down to get all of the sugar crystals melted. When the nuts have a good color and great smell, pour the mixture on a silpat to cool. Cut one nut in half to make sure that it is toasted all the way through - if not there will be moisture and textural problems later.

Above is the almond that became praliné and below is the soon to be marzipan whose recipe is below.

525 g Almond without skins
75 g Granulated sugar
475 g Cane sugar cubes
150 g Water
90 g Glucose DE38
Almond Essence

Process the almonds and granulated sugar. Place cubes, water and glucose in a pot and cook to 116ºC. Add the almond mix to the sugar mix and combine quickly before it crystallizes. Spread the mix on a silpat and rest to cool. The nuts will crystallize and crumble.

Pop them in a food processor and grind them as well as you can.

Then pull out your $8000 dual granite wheel praliné processor and go at it for about 45 minutes.

But the work is worth it. Each time you run the the nuts through the wheels you tighten the wheels another notch. Ultimately the friction from the wheels presses the oil and makes the nuts into a smooth, moist paste. Here's the hazelnut.

And here's our marzipan.

The final step is to put this back into the processor and go until its liquidy like peanut butter.

You'll note that we used a copper bowl which distributes the heat more evenly.

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