65 g plain (all-purpose) flour
A pinch of salt
150 ml water
50 g/2 oz butter
2 small eggs, beaten
30 ml/2 tbsp flaked (slivered) almonds
50 g/2 oz whole almonds
50 g/2 oz granulated sugar
1 quantity of
Icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting
A few crystallized (candied) violets, to
Sift the flour and salt twice on to a
sheet of greaseproof (waxed) paper. Put the water and butter in a
saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Add the flour all in one go
and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the
pan clean. Remove from the heat and gradually beat in enough of the
egg until the mixture is smooth and glossy but still holding its
shape. Reserve the remaining egg for glazing. Use to fill a piping bag
fitted with a large plain tube (tip). Pipe a 20 cm/8 in ring on a
greased baking (cookie) sheet. Pipe a second ring just inside the
first one. Pipe a third ring over the space between the first two.
Brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with the flaked
almonds. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/ 400°F/gas mark 6 for about
30 minutes or until risen, crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack
When cool enough to handle, split the cake in half horizontally to
allow the steam to escape and leave both halves on wire racks to cool.
Meanwhile, put the whole almonds and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan.
Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and turns a
rich brown. Do not allow to bum. The almonds will pop when they are
toasted. Pour into a well oiled tin and leave to set. Break up and
grind in a blender or food processor to a fine powder, making sure no
lumps remain. Fold the praline powder into the Chantilly Cream. Use to
fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tube. Pipe some of the
cream on to the base layer of the cake. Top with the second layer.
Pipe whirls of the remaining cream round the top. Dust with a little
icing sugar and decorate the whirls with crystallized violets. Chill
until ready to serve.