Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hazelnut Roasting on a Foggy Day!

Ever wondered how to roast the perfect hazelnuts? Ever wondered how to get that perfect crunch when you take the first bite of the nut? Well wonder no longer because all will be revealed.

Lets face it the weather today is a little on the gloomy side, with fog dancing up and down the hills in Kettering and most of Southern Tasmania, but why waste a perfectly good indoor day? I have roasted hazelnuts is all sorts of weather over the years, from 40 degree days (and lets face it that not that often in Tassie) to days where snow has fallen. There is something quite comforting about the smell of roasting nuts in the oven, particularly on a cold day. Their aroma permeates all corners of the house making it feel warm and inviting. It has often been said that baking bread creates this atmosphere particularly if selling a house, well I think the same could be said for roasting hazelnuts!

Firstly lets talk about the hazelnut and its parts. You may ask why this is important, but time will tell! Of course there is the hard brown shell which needs to be cracked and removed first. We have a cracking machine to do this in larger quantities but for home use a nutcracker will suffice. Once the shell is removed you will see a fine brown layer covering the hazelnut, this is the pellicle and to remove this easily you will need to roast the nut. We slow roast our hazelnuts for our desired finish. 

For hazelnuts that have been picked fresh we recommend pre-drying the nuts in shell by the fire or air drying in shell for a few weeks. Once this has been achieved,  preheat your oven on fan-forced to 150 degrees Celsius. Place hazelnuts on baking trays and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. For hazelnuts that are supermarket brought this should be adequate, however if you have new season freshly picked and dried hazelnuts you may need to extend your roasting time to 40 minutes. The same technique can be used for almonds. Once the nuts have roasted allow to cool in a bowl. Then you have the task of removing the pellicle to reveal the golden hazelnut underneath! We have tried many things over the years to remove pellicle, you can place the hazelnuts on a cake rack and rub them and the pellicle should fall off. A old onion bag is useful, simply placing the nuts inside and then running them over a cake rack or you can just rub the nuts together in your hands in the bowl. Sometimes it is not possible to remove all the pellicle and some nuts will not part with their outer coat no matter what you do to them...this is OK, you can still eat the nut. That's pretty much it, your roasted nuts are ready for use in anyway you like!

Awaiting Harvesting

Roasted Hazelnuts With Pellicle

Roasted Hazelnuts Pellicle Removed

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