French Almond Nougat

Posted on: December 9th, 2012 by admin 5 Comments

We received couple of requests for a nougat recipe this week so here’s our favorite. This is for the lighter chewier type of nougat. There are many variations - nougatine is really crunchy, in Italy it’s called torrone and some recipes call for making a mazetta (sugar syrup) first. I like this recipe best because there is no need to add corn syrup or glucose or anything. This is a French almond nougat from Provence that uses honey which makes it perfection!

There are a few things about nougat that you need to know before starting. Although pretty easy to make, in theory (the recipe is straightforward), the process is all about timing. Don’t attempt this without a candy thermometer or a stand mixer as the temperature of the honey and sugar is a huge part of the chemistry of the confection and a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power. Also experts say to only attempt the recipe on a dry day — if it’s cloudy they say the honey will not fluff.

For candy (and most recipes) it’s best to use a kitchen scale and grams if you can, otherwise we’ve made conversions.

  • Wafer paper or rice paper (an edible paper that will stick to both sides of the nougat.)
  • 1/2 kilogram almonds (1 pound or about 2 cups)
  • 50 grams pistachios (1.75 oz or 1/4 cup)
  • 250 grams honey (1 1/8 cup)
  • 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 grams powdered sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

(This is originally a halved recipe – feel free to double it if you like, just use a 13 x 9 inch pan)

Lightly grease an 11 x 7 inch or 8 x 8 inch square cake pan and line the bottom with wafer paper (you can use baking paper if you need, just spray it or grease it first, I’ve also heard of people powdering the base with a thickish layer of icing sugar.)

Begin with roasting your almonds and pistachios.  You can use blanched almonds if you like, but we like them with the skins on.  Spread them out on a baking tray and put them in a 350ºF (180º) oven for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes to make sure they toast evenly. And don’t leave them!  (I’ve burnt many a nut).

In a double boiler or bain marie if you have one (fill a medium saucepan a third full of water and then place a smaller saucepan within that one), heat the honey, stirring constantly. In another regular pan, heat the sugar, aiming for 250-265°F (120ºC – 130ºC). Once it reaches the right temperature, add it to the honey (being careful not to burn yourself). Keep the heat constant and continue to stir the mixture until it reaches 280-290°F (around 140ºC)

In a stand mixer (like a kitchen aid), beat the egg whites to stiff peaks as if making meringue and then add the hot honey/sugar mixture a little at a time and carefully. The mixture should begin to thicken almost immediately as it cools. Keep the mixer at medium to high (this can get tough on your mixer). This is where you’re beating all the fluffy chewiness into the nougat. It will begin to form a ball around the beater and have a consistency like very thick  cookie dough with the stickiness of taffy after 6-8 minutes. At this point add the nuts and powdered sugar.

As soon as the nuts have been mixed into the batter, pour it into the prepared pan. It will be very thick and you might need an extra hand to get it spread out (and to quickly clean the beater!). Try coating a wooden spoon with cooking spray to help with the stickiness. Smooth the batter and cover it with a sheet of wafer paper. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the pan, the candy will begin to harden almost immediately so get it smooth as quickly as you can, it won’t ever be perfect, but that’s perfect, nougat is meant to be rustic. Allow it to cool overnight or, if you’re in a hurry, for at least 3 hours.

Once cool, unmold the nougat onto a cutting board and slice through in strips and then slice those into the desired size. Wrap the pieces in cellophane or wax paper and they’ll last a while.

You can also experiment with adding chocolate chunks, currants, lemon peel, other kinds of nuts, etc. This is just the classic recipe that you can use as a jumping off point. Best of luck and happy holidays!

Original recipe from a friend (Thanks Dave) I’ve heard Martha Stewarts recipe is also good but I can’t say for sure.

Song for this recipe:

“The love you gave” – Elisapie The Love You Gave - Travelling Love

I love to listen to Australian and now Canadian musicians.  Don’t you especially enjoy good artists from your country?  Of course music is totally global, but it always seems nice to know when they’re from your neighbourhood.  Elisapie is from Quebec, she was born in the North and besides being a pop singer, is also a broadcaster, documentary filmmaker and activist.  In 2005 she won Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. This year her second album Travelling love was released.  I think she could be influenced by both ABBA and Blondie, but her voice is definitely her own.

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5 Responses

  1. Meredith says:

    Looks super yummy!!! Will have to add this to my baking list:)

  2. Emma says:

    I love how this looks! It’s so pretty with the snowy white candy and pieces of green.

  3. admin says:

    Thanks! It can be tricky to make, I’ve found. But well worth it! (Just don’t tell the dentist!)

  4. Jan says:

    You say what goes in the the ban Marie

  5. admin says:

    Hi Jan, the honey goes in first then the other ingredients!

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