It has been a long time since I have made any confectionary. Brings me back to the days as a professional chef, which for some reason feel ancient. My sugar skills feel rusty as I try to remember all the steps involved. It was second nature once.
I wanted to share with you a recipe that felt festive and also could be beautifully packaged and shared. I might be a bit late as I know many of you are probably done with your holiday preparations and ideas. That is what Pinterest is for.
I share this recipe for pistachio nougat and wish all of you peace for the end of this year. A tumultuous one all over the world. Thinking of all the people who are suffering, have lost loved ones, displaced, away from family, the unknown what lies ahead.
Much love to all. x
The trick to nougat is to cook the sugar to a hard crack stage otherwise, the nougat will be soft and never really set. If it doesn’t set, you can still eat it but will be hard to cut it into neat squares.
Have all your equipment and ingredients ready because once the sugar reaches its temperature it goes fast. The egg whites need to be whipped before the sugar is added so you will be juggling a few things at a time.
makes enough nougat for a 13×9-inch pan
1 pound (450 g) pistachios
3 cups (600 g) sugar
1/2 cup (120 g) light corn syrup or glucose
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
7 ounces (210 g) liquid honey
1. Line a 13×9 baking sheet with parchment paper making sure it also covers the edges of the pan. Set aside.
2. Heat oven to 350F (180C) and roast the pistachios on a baking tray until fragrant, about 7 minutes.
3. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup of water in a small pot. Cook over high heat until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, about 300F. This will take some time and work on your egg whites and honey. I keep a candy thermometer in the sugar syrup at all times so I can see how the temperature is rising.
4. While sugar is cooking, pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites over medium speed. When they become foamy, add the powdered sugar and continue whipping. They will become a bit glossier.
5. When the syrup has reached about 270F, pour the honey in a small pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Pour the boiling honey into the egg whites while the mixer is still whipping on medium speed. Add the honey slowly and keep it close to the edge of the mixing bowl. Once all the honey has been added, continue whipping over medium-high speed. By now, the egg whites will be glossy.
6. When the sugar syrup has reached the hard crack stage, about 300F, turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the syrup into the whipped whites in a steady stream making sure you are adding it close to the mixing bowl (if any of the sugar syrup gets trapped in the whisk attachment while whipping, the sugar can crystalize and turn to threads and we want to avoid that). The sugar syrup should be very viscous but still clear. Once all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and continue whipping about 4 more minutes. The whites will be very thick at this point.
7. The bowl will still feel warm to the touch. Add the pistachios into the white mixture and fold with a wooden spoon until they are evenly distributed. It will be very thick and sticky and hard to mix. Transfer the nougat onto the prepared baking pan. Wet your fingers slightly and help spread it if necessary. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and flatten it with a rolling pen or by pressing another pan on top. Do not try to remove the parchment on top or bottom until the nougat is completely cooled. Let the nougat cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
8. Peel the top piece of parchment off. To cut the nougat, dip a sharp knife into hot water. Lightly dry the knife with a towel and cut the nougat into strips. Clean the knife with hot water in between cuts to avoid the knife from getting too sticky. Store at room temperature wrapped in plastic.