I've seen a lot of stunning photos of nougat recently and really fancied making my own. My main sources of inspiration were Cherry Tea Cakes recipe that made Foodbuzz's top 9 Toasted Hazelnut Nougat Recipe and also Rachel Allen's Nougat
However, I had a play around and came up with a unique version of my own. I made it in my 8" square silicone bakeware mould. I'll want you now, this is the stickiest stuff you can ever imagine to work with. It's far stickier than marshmallow.... and THAT'S sticky !
I thought I had bought rice paper sheets. Obviously I hadn't - I'd just thought about it at some stage and not actually bothered. Right when I needed them - they were not there. Rice paper sheets would help a lot, believe me. Do oil or butter your silicone mould well to prepare for pouring in the nougat. We don't want pools of oil in the bottom.... you don't need that much.
You will need liquid glucose. Liquid glucose is very very thick and sticky - not unlike golden syrup I suppose - but totally clear and even stickier still. Most supermarkets stock it in 140g tubes, or you can buy it from Boots The Chemist. Do ask for it at Boots though as it is generally not on display. Alternatively, corn syrup is what is used in most American recipes for nougat. I've just found it on Ebay and Amazon in the UK, so if you are struggling for liquid glucose then you will need some corn syrup
You will also need a sugar thermometer. Don't even think of trying this without one - temperature is absolutely critical. Too high and you'll burn the caramel part and too low it'll just never set....
2 egg whites
1.1/2 cups granulated sugar
160ml / 2/3 cup liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
160ml / 2/3 cup runny honey (pale colour if possible)
1 vanilla pod
140g > 240g pistachios (I used 140g and added 100g dried cherries)
Scrape the seeds out the vanilla pod and put aside. Put the pod itself and the sugar, liquid glucose, runny honey and water into a large, heavy based saucepan (preferably non stick - you'll appreciate that later !)
Bring these slowly to a rolling boil and keep on the heat until temperature reaches 248 > 250deg F. This will take about 15 > 20 mins.
Just before the syrup mix is ready, whisk the two egg whites to stiff peaks in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Remove syrup from the heat and pour slowly into the egg whites with the mixer going at a medium / high rate. Try and keep the syrup from directly makeing contact with the whisk otherwise this can affect the texture I believe.
The mix will grow like meringue and look shiny. As soon as the syrup is all in, add the nuts and dried fruit should you have chosen to use it and let the mixer combine. You want it to stick to the beaters like a good meringue, but it will be much stickier. Don't let it cool in there too much. You need to work quite wuick with this one !
Use a silicone spatula to scrape into your mould (or prepared tin) and aggitiate (shoogle) it a bit to level.
Allow to cool. You may wish to refrigerate it for a while. Once it has firmed up, you can remove it from your silicone tray mould. If you've used a tin without wafer sheets.... good luck !!!
You can see this was really no big deal to get out the mould.
I dusted top and bottom with some cornflour on demoulding as the stuff sticks to every darn thing and it made it easy to work with when my hands were not welded to it's surface. Still - it made me laugh. I swear if I stuck a piece to the bottom of each shoe, I could have walked upside down on the ceiling !
Saying that, it's dreamy to eat and doesn't stick to your teeth. It's fluffy and light. It's not chompy and teeth gluing like toffee or fly paper when it's in your mouth. It's highly unlikely to pull fillings.
Don't let the stickiness put you off making it. This is the stuff that will help you make friends and influence people. Now I've made it once, I think I'll end up making it again and again. Definately one for the Christmas hampers !
The harder it is at point of cutting, the easier it is. Had I used wafer sheets top and bottom, I think this job would have been far easier... but the cornflour on top of greasproof paper did a good job.
DO use a sharp knife. This is important.
I started off with an oiled knife...just as you would for toffee.
DO cut right the way through in one go. That knife isn't coming back out once you start cutting !
Don't bother oiling the knife. Run it under the cold water tap and shake off excess. Make a cut. It's far easier with a wet knife I fould than an oiled one. Each row you cut, wash the sticky bits of the knife. Promise....If you forget, you won't for the row after..
Once cut into nice big chunks, wrap each in baking parchment.
I made 3 great big bags (one for posting to Mum and Dad in Scotland, one for Victoria and one to send to my grandmother.) The remains were scoffed by work colleagues who are still alive and well :-)
Enjoy and have fun !
Sarah-Jane Nash - http://www.siliconemoulds.com/, March 2011