Deliciously crunchy, glossy and utterly more-ish, the recipe for this classic Tuscan treat came from Antonio Carluccio and is usually served around Christmas and on festive occasions. With the first snows of the season recently, I was feeling decidedly festive so I made a batch.
It’s really simple to make and the only unusual ingredient is the edible wafer paper (rice paper). You can buy rice paper on Amazon and it can be used as a base for various cookies and sweets such as Panforte di Siena – another delightful Italian treat.
CROCCANTE di NOCCIOLE e PISTACCHI
(Makes about 2.25lbs / 1kilo)
2-3 sheets of edible wafer/rice paper
14 oz (400g) of golden sugar (superfine/caster)
3½ oz (100g) of runny honey
The finely grated zest of 1 orange
9oz (250g) of shelled hazelnuts
9oz (250g) of shelled pistachio nuts (not salted!)
1 lemon cut in half
Line a cookie sheet with foil and place 2 or three sheets of rice paper on it, next to one another.
In a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) gently heat the honey and sugar together until all the sugar has melted, then bring it to a boil and cook until the sugar becomes a light golden brown. Take it off the heat.
Add the orange zest and stir it for a minute with a wooden spoon then add the hazelnuts and pistachios, and stir until all the nuts are coated with syrup.
Pour this mixture onto the rice paper and use the lemon halves as spatulas to spread the mixture out to about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick. (The lemon will not stick, unlike a wooden or plastic spatula and it gives a lovely citrus-y tang to the finished toffee).
Allow it to cool completely before breaking it into pieces. It keeps well in an airtight container for about a week, not that you’ll be able to resist it for that long.