I dreamt I was in a room full of people. I stood up and said “Hi, my name is Aran and I am a nut addict”. I looked over and there was my dad, my brothers, my friend Amaia… All nut addicts. And then I woke up.
I grew up in a household where there was always a basket of raw, unshelled nuts on the kitchen table. Walnuts all year round, hazelnuts mostly in the winter, pistachios… you name it. The nutcracker was always accesible next to the everyday flatware and kitchen knives.
During Christmas time, we always had a cupboard full of turron in our house. There were different varieties, some soft, some chocolate with rice puffs, some made exclusively out of yolks and sugar, but my favorite was always the teeth-breaking “turron duro” which is similar to nougat. Egg whites, honey and cooked sugar made into a stiff marshmallow with whole almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and many other combinations.
I was craving turron but it didn’t seem very season appropriate so I remembered the frozen nougat parfait or nougat glace recipe we used to make at my previous job. I adapted it to my own taste but the technique is the same. It is basically, nuts that are cooked in a caramel and added to a meringue and whipped cream mousse. Very, very fresh, light and it has a perfect mouthfeel. Much “fluffier” than ice cream. I molded it into ring molds and also a terrine since I had extra that didn’t fit into the rings. For the terrine, I used a small rectangular cake pan but you can use a round cake pan, pyramids, half spheres, anything.
To serve along side with it, I made chocolate sauce and pourred it over the nougat glace while still warm. It instantly dissolves the parfait. Just how I like it.
Pistachio, Cashew and Cherry Nougat Glace
100 grams sugar
30 grams raw pistachios
25 grams raw cashews
25 grams dried cherries, soaked in kirsch, drained and chopped
75 grams egg whites
75 grams honey (I used Acacia)
250 grams heavy cream, soft peaks
In a medium saucepan, sprinkle some of the sugar and turn the heat to medium high. When that sugar starts to melt and slightly caramelize, add some more and let that melt too. Proceed like this until all the sugar has been added and it starts to caramelize. You can stir with a wooden spatula to achieve an even caramelization. When the caramel is amber, add the room temperature nuts and stir until they are roasted. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
Spread the nougat over a silpat and let it cool completely. Be careful because this is very hot!
Once it has cooled, chop into small pieces. You can even chop it in the food processor but be careful not to completely pulverize it. Reserve.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the mousse.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites. In the meantime, place the honey in a small saucepan and bring it to a full boil. When the egg whites are whipped, turn the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the boiled honey on the side of the bowl in a steady stream. When all the honey is in, turn the mixer back to full speed and whip the egg whites until fully whipped and the bowl cools down.
Add the meringue to the whipped cream. Fold gently. Add the chopped nougat and the drained and chopped dried cherries. Place the mousse in a pastry bag and pipe into your molds.
50 grams heavy cream
50 grams whole milk
15 grams sugar
2 tsp corn syrup
115 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a small saucapan, bring the first four ingredients to a boil. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and when the milk comes to a boil, pour over the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
Serve or store in the refrigerator.
On a different note, I just wanted to tell you about a little interview I had for the Basque Public Radio yesterday. The interview is in Basque therefore not many of you will understand it, but for my Basque readers (and I believe I have a few), you might want to just visit the EITB web and listen to Euskadi Irratia at 11:15am Continental European time (5:15am EST) today.
Eskerrik asko Arka!