I don’t know about you, but the cooler weather always makes me crave chocolate. I am naturally a person that prefers fruit desserts over chocolate, but as soon as temperatures start to drop, all I can think about is having a piece of dark chocolate. I was writing down dessert menu ideas recently and I realized chocolate and nuts were in almost every single item that was roaming around in my head and this salted chocolate ice cream with chocolate, pistachio and peanut nougat pieces was one of them.
This nougat is a softer version than the turron I grew up eating as a child around Christmas time. It is more like the Toblerone filling, but with chunkier nuts in it. How delicious does that sound? I used acacia honey along with salted pistachios and peanuts. I made a large batch and used part of it as a mix-in for a dark chocolate ice cream. If this doesn’t satisfy your chocolate craving, I don’t know what will.
A few months ago, I had someone ask me why everything has to have the word “salted” in front to sound trendy. I disagreed. Maybe the word itself was not used as often before, but salt has always been a great compliment for caramel, chocolate and nuts. It has always been there in many recipes and formulations, but perhaps wasn’t noted in the name. So I do not think this is a trend, but a way to enhance a flavor and it will continue to be.
290 grams sugar
90 grams glucose
120 grams water
310 grams good-quality honey (I used acacia)
100 grams egg whites
20 grams sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
260 grams unsweetened chocolate, melted
250 grams salted and roasted pistachios
250 grams salted and roasted peanuts
It’s best to work on a marble slab but if you don’t have one, a large wood block will do. Set up a sheet of parchment paper in between two candy rulers (if available, if not it’s ok). Lightly dust the parchment with cocoa powder.
Spread the peanuts and pistachios on a sheetpan and keep warm in a 250F oven until ready to use.
Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment. Start whipping the egg whites on low speed while we proceed with the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and the water until it resemble wet sand. Brush the sides of the pan with water to dissolve any sugar particles that are left. Turn on the heat and when it starts to lightly boil, add the glucose. Continue cooking the sugar on high until it reaches 155C.
At the same time, pour the honey into a small pan and boil. When it almost reaches a first boil, turn the electric mixer on high and let the egg whites get foamy and fully whipped. Continue boiling the honey until it reaches 120C. The honey will really bubble up and foam up at this point.
When the egg whites are whipped, add the 20 grams of sugar and continue whipping on high for another minute or so until it develops more body. Then, turn the machine to medium speed and slowly pour in the 120C honey from the side of the bowl. Turn the machine back to high speed and continue whipping the egg whites until the sugar syrup reaches 155C. Then turn speed back to low and pour this sugar syrup into the meringue slowly on the side of the bowl. When all the sugar has been incorporated, turn back to high speed and whip for another 5 minutes.
After the 5 minutes, turn the mixer down to low speed and add the melted unsweetened chocolate. Turn speed higher and whip for another minute or so.
Remove bowl from mixer and add the warm peanuts and pistachios. Fold with a spatula. Spread the nougat in between the candy bars on top of the parchment. Spread with an offset spatula to even it out. Let it cool a bit. Cover with another sheet of parchment or silicon mat and let it set for 24 hours.
Chocolate Nougat Ice Cream
500 ml heavy cream
250 ml whole milk
25 grams cocoa powder
150 grams sugar
5 grams sea salt
100 grams egg yolks
125 grams 70% chocolate, chopped
150 grams chocolate nougat, chopped into small pieces
Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, salt, half of the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk and bring to a boil.
In the meantime, place the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Temper the cream mixture over the egg yolks and whisk. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook to 82C or until it coats the back of the spoon.
Pour this custard over the chopped chocolate and whisk until it is all incorporated and melted. Strain this ice cream base through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and chill over an ice bath. Refrigerate overnight.
The following day, churn the ice cream base in the ice cream machine and when it is done, fold in the chocolate nougat pieces. Pour into container and freeze.
Note: Something I never mention about ice cream and that is very important, is to have your ice cream container (where you will store your churned ice cream) in the freezer before hand. This way, when your churned ice cream hits the container, it stays frozen. If this container were at room temperature, your ice cream would start to melt, losing the air that was incorporated during the churn.