PRALINE SQUARES (GATEAU RUSSE)
written by @juliarecipes
Praline….yes you are right, we are speaking French today 😄 Today, I am going to teach you about the most amazing, fluffy, succulent, creamy, hazel-nutty dessert, which is called in French “Gateau Russe” or I call it simply praline squares.
I don’t think, I am going to have a time to explain the exact origins of this dessert, because it goes way too back in the time of the Kings and Queens. Circa 15th century and we would be sitting here for 2 days, if I would have to write down the whole story 😉. And I don’t really want to waste your time, considering that these dessert is bit more complicated, then a bundt cake and it might be suited more for advanced bakers with some experience.
Thus saying this, I am not trying to discourage brave bakers, who are just stepping in he world of baking, but just a little warning, that this recipe requires few extra steps, then baking a cake with buttercream and it might look little overwhelming how much time consuming it is. But at the end, all this work is just so worth 🙂 You will end up with a high class dessert, that everybody will talk about for years.
So I am still gonna brief you a bit, what kind of dessert is Gateau Russe: It is a French dessert, made out of extremely soft; almost airy hazelnut sponge, filled with luscious praline cream and dusted with confectionery sugar.
As I already mentioned, it is fairly difficult for beginner baker, because of it’s numerous steps, but I will try to ease these steps for you.
You will need a lots of eggs, but literally a lots of eggs, in numbers 17 eggs 🍳🍳Please don’t freak out, it will be worth the cost. Precisely, you will need 17 egg whites and 5 egg yolks, so the rest of the egg yolks could be used for quiche or very high protein breakfast 😉
I know the number of eggs had freaked me out too, first time I was trying to achieve this dessert, but this is why the sponge is so airy and heavenly soft. It’s all because of the big amount of egg whites.
Nuts nuts nuts….there is two kind of nuts used in this recipe and it’s almonds and hazelnuts. The ration is half and half. Almond meal or ground almonds are now very easily found in any grocery store, but ground hazelnuts are a bit harder to find, at least at my place. So What I do, I take whole hazelnuts and I roast them on a baking sheet, 177 C/ 350 F for about 10 – 15 minutes and then I grind them in food processor. While you roast them, you dry them and it’s easier to grind the whole nuts.
Start with preheating oven on 177 C/ 350 F and line 3 regular baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients (except confectioner sugar), add milk and combine well. Set aside.
Egg whites….now you gotta bring the good stand mixer in the game, because mixing in hand 17 egg whites is a lot of work and I don’t recommend it for this kind of baking. Your stand mixer will do the job for you. Use very large bowl, if you have and beat the egg whites on high speed until it almost reaches soft peaks. Now it’s the time to add confectioner sugar. You have to use confectioner or powdered or icing sugar, not the fine granulated sugar. We want to have our sponge to be the fluffiest on earth.
Once you have added gradually confectioner sugar, mix on high for 5 minutes, until until you reach nice rich white peaks. Now start taking 1/3 of the hazelnut mixture and add in your egg whites mixture, mix on very low speed. Add second batch of 1/3 of the hazelnut mixture and continue mixing on low speed. Then add the last 1/3 of hazelnut mixture and mix slowly until everything is well combine. Spread the mixture over 3 baking sheets 9″ x 13″, covered with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven, 170 C / 355 F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Use a toothpick to make sure, is fully baked. Allow the sponge to cool down and then remove the parchment paper.
Praline cream is one of the most delicious and luscious creams you will ever taste. It is made out of praline paste (mix of nuts and caramelized sugar), butter, egg yolks and sugar syrup.
First you have to combine sugar and water in a small pan and simmer on medium heat until reaches 121 C / 250 F. Let stand for a minute (but not more than that, sugar will crystallize very quickly).
In the meanwhile, beat the egg yolks on high speed, until nice white rich texture is reached. Add the warm sugar syrup slowly and mix until the mixture will cool down to the room temperature. Add softened butter and praline paste and mix until soft texture is reached.
LET’S PUT IT TOGETHER
Separate the praline cream on 3 equal parts in the bowl. Take your 3 sponge biscuits and place first biscuit on baking sheet and spread 1/3 of the praline cream on it. Cover it with the second biscuit and continue with the third one and finish with thin layer of cream on the top. Sprinkle with icing sugar and let cool in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Useful tools I recommend:
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.”
PRALINE SQUARES (GATEAU RUSSE)
Preparation time: 1 hour ⭐baking & cooking time: 30 minutes⭐ chilling: 2 hours⭐servings: 8-10 persons
For the sponge
- 125 g/1 cup almonds in powder
- 125 g/1 cup hazelnuts in powder
- 250 g/1 cup fine sugar
- 100 g/ 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 135 ml/ 1/2 cup milk 2%
- 550 g egg whites (17 large eggs)
- 100 g / 1 cup icing (confectioner) sugar
Preheat the oven on 177 C/ 350 F and line 3 regular baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients (except icing sugar), add milk and combine well. Set aside.
- In a very large bowl ( and I mean the largest you have) beat the 17 egg whites almost reaching the peaks, adding slowly confectioner sugar and mix until you reach nice rich white peaks.
- Start taking a 1/3 of your hazelnut mixture and add in your egg whites mixture, mix on very low speed, continue adding slowly the rest of the hazelnut mixture until everything is well combine.
- Spread the mixture over 3 baking sheets 9″ x 13″, covered with parchment paper.
- Bake on 177 C / 355 F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.Use a toothpick to make sure, is fully baked.
- Allow the biscuits to cool down and remove parchment paper.
For the Praline Cream you need:
- 80 g egg yolk (5 large egg yolks)
- 200 g fine sugar
- 60 ml water
- 200 g softened butter
- 2-3 tbsp praline paste
- In a small sauce pan combine sugar and water and simmer on medium heat until reaches 121 C/250 F. Let stand for a minute (but not more than that, sugar will crystallize very quickly).
- In the meanwhile, beat the egg yolks on high speed, until nice white rich texture is reached. Add the sugar syrup, slowly and mix until the mixture will cool down to the room temperature.
- Add softened butter and praline paste and mix until soft texture is reached.
- Separate the praline cream on 3 equal parts in the bowl. Take your 3 sponge biscuits and place first biscuit on baking sheet and spread 1/3 of the praline cream on it. Cover it with the second biscuit and continue with the third one and finish with thin layer of cream on the top.
- Sprinkle with confectioner sugar and let cool in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Once it’s well chilled, cut with sharp knife on squares and serve with coffee.