Fudgy Macadamia Coffee Crunch
A gluten free recipe from Phil Vickery. Nice moist crunch here, really tasty and a treat, take care not to overwhip the whites or the texture ends up slightly firmer.
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Freezer: cool, wrap well without the topping and freeze for up to 3 months. Finish the crunch topping after defrosting.
175g unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated whites and yolks, at room temperature
200g soft brown sugar
200g almonds, ground (For the sponge base, I like to use whole blanched almonds and ground them myself... gives a slightly different texture and tastes even better. You don’t have to marble the mixture, but it makes a nice effect.)
1 level tsp xanthan gum
2tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1tbsp boiling water
100g caster sugar
100g macadamia nuts
(Any nuts will do for the topping, or just use the sugar on its own.)
To make the sponge
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.gas 4. Grease and line a 22cm square tray with baking parchment.
- Melt the butter. Stir the egg yolks into the sugar and then gradually add the butter.
- Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture very lightly, so you don’t lose all the air and then add the ground almonds and the xanthan gum, very gently. Put half the mixture into a separate bowl and mix the liquid coffee into that portion.
- Spoon some of each mixture alternately into the prepared tin and repeat to create layers; drag a spoon back and forth a couple of times to create a marbled mixture. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes. The top will be firm and the centre still a bit soft. Stand the tin on a rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the praline
- To make the praline topping, place the sugar and macadamia nuts together in a large frying pan over a low heat. Keep watching; swirl the pan occasionally, otherwise leave them until all the crystals of sugar have completely dissolved to a rich brown liquid (about 10 minutes). You may have to stir the last of the sugar crystals in and keep an eye on the pan, because it burns easily.
- Pour this mixture on to a baking sheet, spreading the macadamia nuts out in a single layer. Leave the mixture to cool and become brittle; then lift it off the baking tray into a double, strong freezer bag.
- Break it up with a few bashes from a rolling pin and then crush it quite finely, with the rolling pin. Spoon this crunchy layer on top of the cake and then lift it out onto a board and cut into squares.
Copyright Phil Vickery March 2010