Antonio Carluccio's Vegetables: hazelnut and pistachio crunch recipe

This is one of the favourite Italian ways of using hazelnuts, in a celebratory sweet that makes its appearance towards Christmas. 

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*2–3 sheets of rice paper
*400g golden caster sugar 
*100g runny honey 
*finely grated zest of 1 orange 
*250g shelled hazelnuts 
*250g shelled pistachio nuts 
*1 lemon, halved 

1. Line two baking sheets with rice paper. 

2. Put the sugar and honey into a large, heavy-based saucepan, and melt together gently. 

3. When melted, raise the heat slightly and cook until the sugar turns a light brown in colour. 

4. Add the orange zest and stir for a minute with a wooden spoon. Add the hazelnuts and pistachios, and stir together until the nuts are coated with syrup. 

5. Pour this mixture on to the paper-lined baking sheets, and use the lemon halves as spatulas to spread the mixture out to about 2.5cm in thickness. The lemons will not stick, unlike a wooden or plastic spatula.

6. While still warm, cut the sticky mixture into whatever shapes you like – cubes of about 4cm square are best. 

7. When completely cold, break the croccante into pieces, and store in an airtight jar. 

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Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio (Quadrille, £25) Photography: Laura Edwards.

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