I decided to go all out yesterday and made this hazelnut meringue pie. The recipe is from the famous Holtkamp Bakery in Amsterdam via delicious. magazine (February 2011). I’d been drooling over the article for quite some time so yesterday I finally got around to trying it. The result is very pretty and about to be consumed this afternoon, but I have no doubt it will be delicious (I tried plenty of the mocha buttercream to be fairly certain about this). The only thing you need is a lot of time and patience (i.e. a free afternoon dedicated to cooking) and possibly some friends to eat this with you. Actually, the recipe advises to wait a day since the pie is at its best after one day. Have fun!
The recipe consists of several different parts. I have tried to list them according to the order in which I prepared them: 1. meringue pie layers 2. custard cream 3. hazelnut paste 4. coffee extract 5. butter cream 6. assembly. It’s not as elaborate as it sounds, if that’s any consolation.
Ingredients for the meringue pie layers
2 egg whites (you can use the yolks for the custard)
110 grams fine sugar
75 grams powdered sugar
75 grams ground hazelnuts (I didn’t find this in the regular supermarket so I went with ground almonds, oops)
Heat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. When they become foamy, add in a bit of the sugar, then add in the rest by the end when they’re completely stiff. Fold in the powdered sugar and ground nuts. You now have a kind of meringue batter, the recipe tells you to use a piping bag but I just used a palette knife. Spread this batter out on two baking tins dressed with parchment paper in a circle shape with a 22-24 cm diameter (it should be about 1,5 cm thick). Put in the oven for 45 minutes, take out and let it cool. Carefully remove from the parchment paper before use. These will be the meringue layers for the pie.
Ingredients for the custard cream (makes about 700 grams)
500 ml of full-fat milk
100 grams of sugar
half a vanilla bean
45 grams of custard powder (I bought vanilla pudding mix, like Dr. Oetker and noticed that one bag is about 45 grams)
2 egg yolks
Put 450 ml milk in a saucepan with 50 grams of sugar. Cut open the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from it and add both to the milk. Put the saucepan on the fire and bring to a boil, switch off immediately when it starts to boil and remove the vanilla bean. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 50 ml milk and 50 grams sugar with the custard powder and egg yolks. Add a bit of the hot milk to this mixture, mix well and then add the cold mixture into the saucepan milk. Stir, bring to a boil on a low fire and let it bubble for about two minutes while stirring continually (this burns very quickly so don’t leave the pan). Pour the custard into a cold bowl and let it cool, while stirring occasionally.
Ingredients for the hazelnut paste (makes about 95 grams)
60 grams of white hazelnuts (without skins)
35 grams of sugar
Roast the hazelnuts in a hot skillet until they’re golden brown. Mix the hazelnuts with the sugar in a food processor until this is a thick, almost fluid paste. I have no food processor so I used a stick blender, which also works, but it’s not ideal. You can conserve any extra’s in the fridge for up to a month.
Ingredients for the coffee extract
half a cup of strong, warm espresso (50 ml)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Nescafé (instant coffee)
Mix the hot espresso with the sugar and Nescafé until completely solved. Let it cool and preserve in the fridge.
Ingredients for the butter cream, or crème au beurre (for about 600 grams)
300 grams of custard cream (recipe above)
65 grams of sugar
200 grams of soft butter, beaten until fluffy
Using a mixer, beat the sugar through the custard cream. Now add the soft butter (if this doesn’t go easily, you can use a hair dryer to heat the bowl while adding in the butter). You can keep this cream in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for a few months.
The glorious assembly!
100 grams of hazelnuts, roasted and crushed coarsely using a mortar and pestle
a few whole hazelnuts for decoration
30 grams of powdered sugar
Mix 600 grams of butter cream with 25 ml of coffee extract and 35 grams of hazelnut paste. This is the coffee hazelnut cream that will make the filling of the pie. Put a few small dots of the cream on the plate on which you will assemble the pie. Put the first meringue layer on the plate. Put the coffee cream into a piping bag with a medium star-shaped tip and cover the meringue layer with a layer of coffee cream (I started at the outsides, making a circle drawing closer to the center). Add the second layer of meringue. Now, the recipe told me to add a thin layer of cream to the sides, but I found this very difficult as the outer parts of the meringue were rather thin and my cream was a bit too fluid. So I piped a layer at the side/top of the upper meringue layer, which then sort of fell into place on the side of the pie.
Now, decorate the sides and top with the crushed hazelnuts. I did this by sprinkling the hazelnuts on top of the cream and adjusting where necessary. When the sides are done, use the rest of the hazelnuts on top of the pie. Pipe a few decorations onto the pie and add a whole hazelnut (see picture). Finish by dusting with powdered sugar (it’s so pretty you don’t really need to do this, in my opinion). Enjoy!