Dutch people love their sweets and with good reason. These snowballs are a textural delight. Pillows of meringue give way to a smooth vanilla custard dusted with hazelnut praline crunch.
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 150 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 350 ml milk
- 150 ml cream
- ½ vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 75 g hazelnuts
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting/chilling time 1 hour
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
To make the vanilla custard, combine the milk, cream and vanilla beans and seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Discard vanilla bean. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until thick and pale. Slowly whisk in the infused milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for 6–8 minutes until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean bowl and refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
To make the praline, place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10–12 minutes until the skins darken and become loose. Transfer to a clean tea towel and rub well to remove the skins. Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Place the nuts on a baking paper-lined baking tray and set aside.
Combine the sugar and 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high, brush down the sides of the pan a few times with a wet pastry brush and cook for a further 6–7 minutes, without stirring, until golden. Pour the caramel over the nuts and allow to cool. Break the praline into chunks and transfer to a food processor and process until chopped. Set aside.
To make the snow balls, bring the milk to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce the heat to a simmer. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at time, and continue to whisk until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the cream of tartar.
Using a large soup spoon, scoop ½ cup measures of meringue and gently drop into the simmering milk (the balls will flatten slightly). Cook no more than 4 snowballs at a time for 7–8 minutes until solid.
To serve, pour some vanilla custard into the base of a shallow bowl, top with a snowball and sprinkle with praline.
Photography by Alan Benson