Nougat is a delicious confection that you may have had in many candy bars growing up. It traditionally is an egg white and honey candy with almonds and pistachios (or other nuts). The most common nougat you will find on its own is White Nougat. This type stemmed out of Italy during the 15th century and later was spotted in France in the 18th century. Though, the original nougat is first noted in a 10th century cookbook found in the Middle East. Today you can find it in a lot of places but I have noticed it is a lot more common and popular in Europe and the Middle East compared to the little I see it in the U.S.
This recipe is based off of the recipe I used when I was studying in France. It's a bit complicated at first but read through the recipe a couple times and once you start it will easily come together. Like many recipes and in life in general MISE EN PLACE. This will save you and make things a lot easier. There will be points to keep things on hold if you need to wait for something else to get ready.
300g Almonds, whole
300g Granulated Sugar
75g Corn Syrup
2 ea Egg Whites
30g Granulated Sugar
60g Powdered Sugar
50g Cocoa Butter, melted
1. Place the almonds and pistachios on a sheet pan and into an oven set to 200°F. This is to make them warm and give more time to mix them in without cooling the sugar too fast.
2. Line and grease a loaf pan with parchment.
3. In a medium sauce pot, heat the first granulated sugar with the corn syrup and water over a medium heat. This will eventually need to be at 310°F but you can leave it low until you need it.
4. In another sauce pot, heat the honey to 257°F.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the second granulated sugar until foamy.
6. While whipping on low, add the cooked honey to the egg whites slowly. Whip for 3 minutes on medium speed then turn to low speed until second sugar mixture is cooked. At this point increase heat on the sugar syrup and cook to 310°F.
7. When second sugar mixture is at temp, slowly pour down the side into the bowl with the egg whites on low speed. Whip on medium to cool slightly and to make a fluffy and white mixture. It won't be stiff but should thicken slightly.
8. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the powdered sugar on low speed followed by the melted cocoa butter.
9. Add the nuts and mix slightly to incorporate.
10. Spread mixture into the prepared loaf pan and allow to cool completely before cutting up. Use a serrated knife when cutting to get clean cuts that show off the nuts inside.
A bit crazy right? This recipe has multiple parts that need to come together at specific points. This is how a lot of pastry recipe tend to be but luckily this one can be paused if needed. You can also change up the nuts in the recipe. I've always seen almonds and pistachios in nougat but you can use any type of nut and can even use dried fruits. Change up what you use to create various flavors or do something seasonal!