Nougat – First Attempt

So I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making nougat candy.  I collected a few different nougat recipes and decided to try this one first, because it’s a Montelimar style nougat.  (Years ago, I received as a gift some real Montelimar nougat from France, and there is nothing like it in this world!)

WARNING: For those of you who have Candy Thermometer Phobia, you may need to get someone to hold your hand while viewing certain pictures that depict The Candy Thermometer.

The first ingredients –   honey, water, sugar, corn syrup – go into a saucepan:

And you boil it on medium heat until the mixture reaches 300 degrees on, yes,   . . . . . The Candy Thermometer.

At first it almost boiled over, but after a few minutes, it calmed down. It took a while to reach 300 degrees.

While that’s boiling, you beat the egg whites into stiff peaks:

And then when the sugar mixture had reached 300 degrees, you slowly pour it over the egg whites while running the mixer.

At first, it was caramel-colored, so I was worried that it wouldn’t turn out pretty and white like it’s supposed to.  But the recipe said to mix it for a while until it became cooler and thicker . . .

. . . and the longer it mixed, the whiter  – and glossier – it became.  Very Pretty!

So then I stirred in the zest, vanilla, and blanched almonds and poured the whole sticky mixture into a pan.  I didn’t have any rice paper like the recipe called for, so I sprayed the bottom of the pan with Pam for Baking.  (Note to self:  get rice paper ‘cuz the Pam didn’t do the job.)

It was only then that I read the end of the recipe, which said to let it sit for 3-5 DAYS before cutting.  WHA?!?!?  Are you kidding me?

So I put it in the fridge to make it set up faster, cuz no WAY am I waiting 3 days to taste this!

I tried to wait, but I gave up and cut out a few pieces to taste.  It was okay, but I was not thrilled with the flavor.  Too intense on the honey flavor, and not enough vanilla.  Couldn’t taste the zest at all.  But the texture was very nice.

Instead of letting all those blanched almonds go to waste, I dug them out of the nougat,

then rinsed them off, set them out to dry, and tossed out the rest of the overly-honeyed nougat.

I’ll use these almonds again in the next Nougat recipe I try.  Or I could quit lying to myself, because I know I’ll  roast them and eat them this weekend.

By the way, if you’ve never blanched almonds before, it’s super-easy and does not require any sort of thermometer.  You simply put raw almonds into a pot of boiling water, boil them for 2-3 minutes, then strain off the hot water and put the almonds into a bowl of really cold water.  After they cool (2-3 minutes) the skins slip right off the almond.  Then you set them out of the counter to dry for an hour or so.  Some recipes (like this one) tell you to toast them after blanching, but some don’t.  (I prefer them toasted.)

So anyway, tune in next weekend for Nougat:  The Sequel.  I’ll try again with a different recipe!

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