Nougat is a real treat for me which I have great memories of my Dad loving to eat by the plateful. At Christmas Mum will always make sure she buys at least one length of it to have as part of the sweet treats on the table. Often this would mean a journey to the Mediterranean wholesalers north of Melbourne to collect these delightful Italian treats, and there was often much debate afterwards about textures, flavours, quality and taste. Some years it was divine, others not so much.
This year I got it into my head that I would like to try making it. A big dare for me given the humidity of Queensland, my complete inexperience at cooking with sugar at candy temperatures and a loss of even where to start. Mum to the rescue in the kitchen again. Having made it once before in her kitchen, we decided to cook this together as part of our day in the kitchen. We used a recipe that was a part of her collection and originated in a Women’s Weekly Italian cookbook from the 1970s.
There was definitely a need to special tools like a candy thermometer and an electric mixer to keep everything moving. Alternatively you would need a lot of confidence, a really good eye and at least 6 pairs of hands! I freaked out when the nougat started hardening at a rapid pace once the butter and nuts were added so I think a few tips are in order to help smooth out the journey for anyone attempting this in their own kitchen.
- Your equipment must be clean when you are cooking with sugar
- Respect boiling sugar… it is like lava and will seriously burn you if it ends up on your skin
- Use a candy thermometer to get the best results as you will need to cook the sugar further than you would think to get the right consistency with your nougat
- Make sure the pan you will be placing your nougat into is ready to go before you begin and your nuts and butter are all at the ready
- An electric mixer with a cover to minimise splash back like my Kenwood are a great lifesaver when you are adding in the liquid sugar to the eggs
- Two sets of hands are better than one
- The taste of your honey is everything, make sure you pick a honey that you love with beautiful flavours
- Nougat is divine!
The end result of my little challenge? A beautifully textured and flavoured nougat, still a touch sticky, but very edible. Next time I’ll cook the sugar a little bit longer and for now, I think this batch may just meet some dark chocolate to minimise the sticky fingers.
Check out the recipe here…
I’ve chosen this post to be a part of Our Growing Edge for December. It was a complete leap into the dark creating this recipe and had me learning how to handle ingredients in a new way with new techniques which have set me on a path to attempt more fancy sugar based delights.
Season’s Greetings To You All
Happy Baking & Happy Eating for 2014!