---------- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
  Categories: Desserts
       Yield: 12 servings
       5 oz Hazelnuts
            - lightly toasted & skinned
       1 c  Confectioners' sugar
       6    Egg whites; room temperature
       1 pn Cream of tartar
       1 c  Granulated sugar
 ---------------HAZELNUT PRALINE BUTTERCREAM---------------
     3/4 c  Granulated sugar
     1/2 c  -Water
       5    Egg yolks
       1    Egg; (whole)
     3/4 lb Unsalted butter
            - softened & lightly beaten
   1 2/3 c  Hazelnut Praline; (below)
 ---------------------HAZELNUT PRALINE---------------------
       5 oz Hazelnuts
            - lightly toasted & skinned
   1 1/4 c  Granulated sugar
     1/2 c  -Water
   Preheat the oven to 250 F.  Line 2 large baking sheets
   with parchment paper and trace a 10-inch circle onto
   each piece of parchment.  Finely grate the toasted
   hazelnuts (a rotary nut grater works best) into a
   bowl. Sift in 3/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar and
   toss to mix thoroughly.
   In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of
   tartar on low speed until foamy, about 2 minutes.
   Increase the speed to high and beat until the whites
   nearly double in volume and stiff peaks form.
   Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon
   at a time.  Beat until the whites are dense and glossy
   and form stiff peaks. With a large rubber spatula,
   lightly fold in the nut mixture until no white streaks
   Use a tiny amount of the nut meringue to anchor the
   corners of the parchment to the baking sheet. Spoon
   half of the meringue onto one of the circles and, with
   a thin metal spatula, spread into an even layer to
   fill the circle.  Form a second circle with the
   remaining meringue on the other baking sheet.
   Bake the nut mixture in the upper and lower thirds of
   the oven, switching positions once, until lightly
   browned and crisp throughout when tapped, 1 to 1-1/2
   hours.  The amount of time it takes to dry out will
   depend on the humidity of the day.  Let cool to room
   temperature.  (The recipe can be prepared to this
   point up to 2 days ahead.)  Wrap the meringue layers,
   with the parchment still attached to the bottom (for
   stability), in a large sheet of foil to seal.
   TO ASSEMBLE THE DESSERT:  Peel off the parchment paper
   from the meringue layers.  Set one layer on a flat
   surface and spread evenly with 2 cups of the (room
   temperature) Hazelnut Praline Buttercream.  Place the
   second layer, flat-side up, on top of the buttercream
   and press gently.  With a metal spatula, spread the
   remaining buttercream evenly on the top and sides of
   the cake.
   To decorate, press the Hazelnut Praline around the
   sides of the cake and sift the remaining 1/4 cup
   confectioners' sugar evenly over the top or use
   stencils to create a design. Garnish with the whole
   hazelnuts. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour,
   or up to 24 hours to firm up. Serve chilled.
   saucepan, combine the sugar with the water.  Bring to
   a boil over moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve
   the sugar.  Boil without stirring until the syrup
   reaches the soft-ball stage, 244 degrees F on a candy
   thermometer, about 6 minutes.
   Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks and whole egg
   on high speed until pale, fluffy and quadrupled in
   volume, about 5 minutes.
   Gradually beat the boiling syrup into the eggs in a
   thin steady stream. Beat until the mixture cools to
   room temperature, 6 to 8 minutes.
   Gradually beat in the butter, 4 tablespoons at a time,
   and continue to beat until the buttercream is fluffy.
   Fold in the Hazelnut Praline.  Use at once or cover
   and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the
   refrigerator at least 1 hour before using, to return
   to room temperature.  (Makes about 3-2/3 cups)
   HAZELNUT PRALINE:  Lightly oil a baking sheet and
   place the nuts in a single-layer in the middle of the
   In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar with the water.
   Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring to
   dissolve the sugar.  Boil without stirring until the
   sugar turns golden, about 10 minutes.
   Drizzle the boiling caramel over the nuts and set
   aside until hard and cool, about 20 minutes.
   Break the nuts and caramel into chunks by hitting the
   bottom of the tray. Grind to a powder in a food
   processor, about 20 seconds.  Use at once or store in
   an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  (Makes about
   2-1/4 cups)
   Source: Diana Sturgis, Food & Wine Great Desserts
   Typos by: Karen Mintzias