How to make nougat
Sticky, chewy, delicately flavoured; nougat is one of those decadent treats that never fails to conjure up dreams of warmer climes, each mouthful a taste of the Mediterranean. Crunchy almond, warming honey notes, perhaps a hint of rose. It makes a perfect gift for anyone with a sweet tooth and is ideal as a present, a seasonal indulgence to delight all ages.
Here, Barbury Hill takes a look at how to make nougat, and how you can make your own nougat as a homemade gift with a difference.
What is nougat?
A perfect balance of crunchy nuts - pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts - and sweet honey, caramel, rose or vanilla, all bound up in a soft marshmallowy cloud, nougat can trace its roots back hundreds of years. Its origins may be a matter for debate - Italy, the Middle East, Spain and France have variations - but this delicacy is a classic that makes a perfect homemade Christmas gift.
From the Italian ‘Torrone’ to the Spanish Turrón, the famous French Nougat de Montélimar, made with lavender honey, almonds and pistachios, to the Iranian Gaz, nougat’s moreish mix of sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy is a winner with people of all ages.
And the beauty of this cosmopolitan background? There’s really no hard and fast rules when it comes to making your own nougat. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, try experimenting with different flavour combinations to find the perfect one for the recipient of your homemade nougat!
How to make nougat
- Rice paper
- 150g blanched almonds, chopped
- 150g hazelnuts, chopped
- 100g skinned pistachios, chopped
- 225g granulated sugar
- 140g clear honey
- 1½ tbsp liquid glucose
- 2 free-range egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 170˚c. Prepare a 20cm square tin by lining with rice paper and set to one side.
- Toast the nuts: Spread the almonds and hazelnuts evenly over a baking tray and toast in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until light golden. Allow to cool slightly and chop before returning to the oven at 100˚c to keep warm.
- Put the sugar, honey, liquid glucose and 110ml water in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a very low heat until the sugar has dissolved. When the sugar has fully melted, turn up the heat and boil rapidly, monitoring the temperature regularly with a sugar thermometer.
- When the boiling sugar reaches 150°C, whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until they make soft peaks as you remove the whisk.
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 160°C, slowly but steadily pour the hot sugar syrup into the whisked egg whites, whisking all the time but making sure it doesn’t touch the sides of the bowl or the beaters.
- When all the syrup has been added, keep whisking until the mixture becomes very thick. Once it reaches this point, add the warm chopped nuts and the vanilla extract, then manually stir them through.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping it out with a spatula or metal spoon, then press a second piece of rice paper on top and flatten it out. Put a board on top, weigh it down with tins or whatever you have to hand, then cool completely. Turn out and cut into squares.
Tips for decorating your nougat
Your nougat will (hopefully) taste delicious as it is, but if you’re giving this homemade gift for Christmas, why not add your own decoration? A delicate touch of gold leaf, a sprinkle of dried rose petals, or an artfully stencilled design will all add a special something to what is already a very special handmade present for a very lucky recipient.
No time to make your own nougat?
Of course, if all this talk of soft marshmallow, crunchy nuts and sweet hints of honey has your mouthwatering, but you lack the time to make it yourself, check out Barbury Hill’s range of nougat from the award-winning Tadinka Nougat.
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Dan founded Barbury Hill and he is the man behind our mission to shine a light on the best of British food and drink. He loves wine, cider and small batch cheese. And every producer on Barbury Hill.