Yes, this is a lot of work but it sure is impressive when you serve it up! You will certainly WOW your guests!
- 2½ cups sugar
- 1 cup water, divided
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1½ cups (5 ounces) sliced almonds
- 8 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 extra-large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1¾ cups scalded milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons Cognac
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Yield: 2 cups
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until very thick.
- Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
- With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs.
- Pour the custard mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened.
- The custard will coat the spoon like heavy cream. Don't cook it above 180 degrees F or the eggs will scramble!
- Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, add the vanilla extract, Cognac, and vanilla -then chill.
For the caramel:
- Heat 1½ cups of the sugar and ½ cup water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
- Cook over medium heat until the syrup turns a warm caramel color.
- Don't stir, just swirl it in the pan.
- Off the heat, add ½ cup water and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla; be careful-it bubbles like crazy!
- Cook until 230 degrees F - Set aside.
- Combine the almonds with ¼ cup of the caramel and spread them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned.
- Allow to cool at room temperature and then break up in pieces.
- Lower the oven to 250 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Whip egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.
- Then switch to high and add the remaining 1 cup of sugar.
- Beat till very stiff and glossy.
- Add remaining teaspoon of vanilla.
- Scoop or pipe 2 mounds of meringue on the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Pour creme anglaise on the bottom of a plate.
- Place a meringue on top, drizzle with caramel sauce, sprinkle with praline, and serve with spun sugar if desired!
Adapted from Ina Graten
Optional: Spun Sugar Toppers
- 2½ c. sugar
- ⅓ c. water
- Boil sugar and water until a nice light caramel color-not too dark or it will be too hard.
- Spray and upside down pyrex bowl with Pam.
- Let caramel cool a bit until when you pick it up with a fork you can see some threads drizzle off the fork.
- Carefully drizzle it across the bowl and let it cool. Remove and break into fancy shapes to be decorative.
Adapted from A Beautiful Plate