Croquante, or cloche amandine, is usually served at Christmas and Easter in Provence. It is placed in the center of the table and everyone breaks off little pieces of it to nibble on. Leftovers are crushed and used on top of baked apples or pears or on ice cream.
Bring the sugars, honey, and water to a boil and stir with a wooden spoon. When the mixture has heated to 300° add the butter and the warm nuts and pour onto a greased surface (marble or formica counter, aluminum cookie sheet, or aluminum foil). Smooth out and push with the 2 halves of the lemon until the entire sheet is very thin—from ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. Lift off the sheet before it is completely cooled and hardened and mold it against the inside of a buttered marble or china mortar or a wide bowl. Let it cool, then unmold on a platter. It will look like a golden bell.
You may decorate it with crystallized violets or mimosa flowers (on sale in gourmet shops) or candied fruits or dribbles of icing. I prefer it plain.
Keep the leftover pieces wrapped in aluminum foil or in a closed glass jar. Never refrigerate.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.