On the run up to Christmas I thought it would be nice to share a recipe for “Croccante” or “Brittle” which is often found on the Christmas table of many regions of Italy, especially in the central-south.
It can be made with different types of nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios or sesame seeds.
Croccante, reminds me of my childhood. Of those hazy winter Sundays afternoons spent at street festivals. The smell of croccante was irresistible; Brittle is a mixture of caramelized sugar and nuts and it is great party food.
On street markets you will also find nuts praline which are similar to brittle, they are just smashed into pieces.
It is ever so easy to make at home. You can serve it as an after-dinner coffee treat and it can be crushed or ground up to use as a topping for ice cream or added as a flavoring to many desserts. It lasts for weeks wrapped in tin foil in a tightly covered container, but to be honest once you start munching, it really is hard to stop! So it won't last that long!
- Prep Time : 15 minutes
- Cook Time : 18 minutes
Toast the almonds for 10 minutes at 180C or 350F.
Chop half of them
In a saucepan add the sugar and cook on high heat. Continue to stir until the sugar begins to liquify. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze a little juice in the pan and add a bit of water to help, if needed. Continue cooking until the sugar acquires an amber colour.
Pour the almond mixture over a sheet of greased baking paper or over a greased marble or granite top.
Using half a lemon level the mixture well. The lemon will give the brittle a nice and perfumed flavour.
Let it cool for 15 minutes then before it completely sets slice it into pieces using a sharp knife. Let it set completely before eating it. It will last well for weeks wrapped in tin foil in a cool and dry place.