Samstag, 22. Dezember 2012

White Nougat (methode de Montelimar) sticky yummyness

Since many years I am visiting southern france during holidays. My ancesters are from southern france that is why I am really tiny and have darker hair and whenever I am in france I just blend in, unless we talk to each other - les boches n'est pas... My grandmother was very proud of her french ancestry. She even talked to us in french (sometimes) and made a big fuss about french manners and dinners too. So I was always addicted to french cuisine and I often cook french meals.
And sweets... I like the french nougat. Thought about to make it at home and I did it this year for christmas.
This is really tricky and I don't know if it is wise to post it, because there is a high risk it will never turn out good. For southern france christmas it is one of the 13 desserts / delights to be served on christmas eve.
Sweet treat: pieces of white nougat just cut into bite-sized cubes
You need for a small amount / trial version

150 g sugar
2 tablespoons honey (orange blossom honey but common honey will do while adding a little orange oil - see below)
1 tablespoon glucose
50 ml water
1 large egg white
200 g mixed nuts (skinned and not skinned almonds: toasted -  more tradional almonds, pistachios and pine nuts)
almond oil, orange oil, only a few drops
candied cherries, opitional- I think this adds a nice colour

Add a few drops almond oil to the cherries and let sit an hour.
Skin the almonds or let the skin on or both and toast - 1 minute at scale 900 W in the microwave will do, covered. Beat the egg white to a stiff snow (adding a little salt is good too) add a few drops of orange oil when neary done.
Add sugar, honey, glucose, water into a pot and boil while scraping the sugar crystalls forming at the pot sides down into the sugar mixture until the solution reaches 130 degree Celsius, hard ball stage for sugar cooking. During this time stir well (I use a wooden spatule), don't burn the sugar, don't let it turn too dark. This is tricky. Forget all the handy manuals about dripping a small  amount of the solution into cold water for testing the right hard ball sugar stage. This will not do. Use a sugar thermometer too!
Whisk the hot sugar sirupe into the stiff egg white, let the engine run during this time on high speed and further on for at least  2 minutes. Change from balloon whisk to paddle and let the engine run 5 more minutes, add the nuts during the last minute. Whisk in the cherries by hand. The mixture should be somewhat firmer but elastic, very sticky. Spread the mixture into a small rectangle baking tin layered by parchment paper. Cover with parchment paper and make it even, layer some weight on top. After a few hours the candies can be cut and wrapped up. It is much better to use a layer of thin starchy flatbreads (wheat only wafers) instead of parchment paper if you can buy such. Sadly they were sold out. But is is fine to use parchment paper, just wrap the sweets into clingfilm they are a little soft and sticky...

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