Even though I always believed that this well loved sweet was originally the brainchild of Apicius who lovingly described nucatum (also based on honey, walnuts and eggs) in his writings, it was probably the romantic in me and it does seem that nougat, in it’s current form was invented in Marseilles during the 16th century and was probably the result of a walnut glut. Once, exclusively made in Montélimar it is now available everywhere. Nowadays there are many kinds of nougat made and the modern approach to sweet making is refreshing and delicious.
In France there are many kinds – the white nougat (15% nuts); the Montélimar (30% nuts); pate de nougat (less than 15% nuts); nougat au miel (20% honey); nougat de Provence (23% heavily caramalized sugar and honey, hazelnuts, coriander, aniseed and flavoured with orange-flower water) is my absolute favourite; noir (black) and rouge (red) and Parisienne nougats (15% nuts & not aerated) and then vietnamese nougat made from sesame seeds, peanuts and sugar and then the Italians make some and the Arabs and so we can carry on ad infinitum. I listed the French out of respect because it is thanks to them that we have it today. However, we can do as we please as there are no regulations and our thoughts and dreams our only limits. Easier than this, it doesn’t get.
Nougat Torrone Turrón
This delicious treat is local to several countries like France, Spain and Italy. It is usually consumed during Christmas season, but I would totally enjoy all year around.
- 625 ml caster sugar
- 125 ml honey
- 45 ml golden syrup
- 250 ml water
- 2 egg whites
- 100 ml cashew nuts
- 100 ml roasted walnuts
- 50 ml roasted pine nuts
- 4 sheets edible rice paper
- In a large pot add the caster sugar, honey, syrup and water together until everything has dissolved, turn up the heat so that it can boil and continue boiling to hard crack stage (when you pour a drop into cold water, it cracks) – sugar thermometer 159 C
- Remove any crystallization from the sides of the pot with a brush.
- Beat egg whites to stiff peak stage and add the hot syrup to this slowly (let the food processor run at medium speed) – as soon as you have incorporated everything, run processor for a minute on high.
- Fold in the nuts.
- Line a flat dish with rice paper.
- Pour nougat onto the rice paper and make sure that there are no bubbles, spread it out smoothly and allow it to set for a day and then slice as you wish.
Other Christmas treats: