Awwwww me gawd… I know I probably say this about everything but this recipe is sensational! Last year I decided to treat myself and buy (a rather extravagant) Christmas present – an amazing Kitchen Aid. It’s the pride and joy of my kitchen and I don’t regret buying it one bit. (I got a sexy black one!)
At the time when I bought this lovely specimen I was working with a lady who was a certified domestic goddess. She had a Kitchen Aid and would whip up all sorts of lovely treats for us almost daily – incredible! After quizzing her about some of the amazing things she had made with hers, she mentioned that she’d made nougat. It hadn’t even occurred to me that you could in fact make nougat yourself and so that night I hopped on the computer and scoured the internet for the best looking recipe I could find. I asked my parents (who are long time nougat connoisseurs) what key qualities they think the best nougat have. Their idea of the perfect nougat is filled with lots of almonds and pistachios with a hint of honey. I found a recipe which was filled with dried cranberries and dark chocolate so I substituted these with the nuts.
My first batch was so popular with all my friends and family last year, I had to make it this year. Mum and Dad requested Nougat for their Christmas present months ago and Mum rang up yesterday just to confirm that I was going to make it for them (talk about ruin a surprise). I wrap mine up into little parcels which make the perfect treat to give away. Overall I think nougat is pretty easy to make (if you have a candy thermometer). The most difficult part is cutting it up so you may need to find yourself a very strong friend to help out! I paid my little helper in Nougat offcuttings :) I swear, this stuff is worth it’s weight in gold!
Luckily I have a little Christmas tree because I only have a handful of decorations but I love every single one and they each have a story. My favourite is my little wooden Santa from Berlin. I could have bought the whole shop!
Almond & Pistachio Nougat
Edible rice paper
2 cups caster sugar
1 cup glucose syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
150g almonds, lightly toasted
Line a non stick 20 x 30 cm baking tray with sheets of edible rice paper. Put the sugar, glucose, honey and vanilla in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then boil without stirring. Cook until the mixture reaches 142°C (275°F) on a sugar thermometer (soft crack stage).
Once the sugar has almost reached the correct temperature, start to beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl until firm peaks form. While beating, very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream into the egg white.
Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and holds its shape – depending on your beaters, this could take between 2 and 8 minutes. Once the mixture can hold its shape, stop beating. You don’t want it to thicken too much and become like toffee. Gently warm the nuts in a dry pan. Stir into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the tin and place a layer of rice paper over the top. Leave to set overnight and then cut into squares or bars with a hot, wet knife.