Kransekake is a Scandinavian cake that forms an impressive showpiece at celebrations including weddings and Christmas.
To make the dough, tip the ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl, add the beaten egg whites and the almond extract and mix to a dough with your hands. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight, or freeze for 30 minutes.
For the star, roll out the florist paste on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour to the thickness of a 2 pence piece. Make a template, then cut out 2 six-pointed stars each measuring 5cm across. Cut a 2mm channel from one of the points of each star into the middle of each star and leave to set.
Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 2cm thick. Place the ground pistachios on a large baking sheet and gently roll the ropes in the pistachios to coat.
Gently press the tops of the ropes with the heel of your hand to flatten them slightly--this will make it easier to form them into rings. Run an offset spatula under the ropes to loosen.
Cut the dough into strips (these will become rings): The smallest strip should measure 8cm, the next 11cm, the next 14cm and so on. Continue in 3cm increments until you reach the largest strip, which should measure 41cm long.
Shape the strips into rings and push the edges together to seal. Make sure the curved surface is on the outside of the rings. (The smaller rings are the hardest to make, so take your time shaping them.)
Place the rings on the prepared baking sheets. Place a piece of parchment on top of the rings. Place an empty baking sheet on top of the parchment paper and press gently to flatten the tops of the rings. Remove the baking sheet and parchment paper and bake the rings for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool completely.
For the icing, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, until stiff, glossy peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Once the rings have cooled, begin to build the tower. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a number 4 writing nozzle. Pipe a few dots of white icing onto the base of the largest ring and stick it to a large serving plate. Pipe the icing in a zig zag pattern around the ring. Repeat with the remaining rings, stacking them one on top of the other, from largest to smallest, piping a zig zag pattern on every ring.
Once the stars are hard, interlink the 2 stars by sliding one channel into the other creating a 3 dimensional star.
Top the kransekake with the star and dust with icing sugar before serving.