From a super easy recipe to a super technical one!
The other day at the supermarket I picked up a magazine with a ton of recipes for homemade nougat in it. I’m a total nougat fan and couldn’t resist buying the magazine, even though the recipes looked pretty labour intensive. When I started researching nougat making, I realised it was even harder than I had previously thought, essentially because of the precision with which you have to heat the mixture.
However, we tried it last night, and it is actually really easy as long as you’re careful.
So anyway, here’s my recipe. I will put tips for killer nougat at the end.
edible confectionery rice paper
2.5 cups of caster sugar
1 cup of golden syrup
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg whites, at room temperature
100g softened butter
OK, so that’s your basic nougat recipe. To it, I added:
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dessicated coconut
Spray a slice tin with non-stick oil spray, then line the bottom with edible confectionery paper.
Put the sugar, honey, golden syrup and vanilla essence in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly. When the sugar melts, put a candy thermometer in the mixture. When the temperature on the thermometer hits 110 degrees Celsius, start beating the egg whites. You want them to form stiff peaks – ideally this will happen when the liquid mix is ready but if not just turn the mixer off and continue heating the sugar.
Eventually, the sugar mix will reach 130 degrees Celsius. When this happens, you want to start adding it to the egg whites in a thin stream, while beating. When all of that is combined, start adding the butter, a dob at a time. Whisk after you add each dob, and make sure it’s combined at the end by mixing for another minute or so.
Finally, fold in all your extra stuff – the nuts and fruit and coconut. Then, being very quick, spoon the mixture into the lined slice tin. Put more edible paper over the top and flatten it out as much as you can – the bottom of another tin helps a lot here. Put it somewhere cool and dry to set – it will take about 8 hours.
On the left, that’s my candy thermometer. If you don’t have one, this is going to be a seriously hard recipe. On the right is the thin stream of sugar syrup going into the mixer. Don’t do this too slowly, though, or it will set into toffee before it meets the egg whites.
Cool, so that’s about it.
– the rice paper you need is not the stuff people use for making spring rolls. That’s salted. This stuff you can generally find at specialist cake stores. Using it is not completely necessary – you can try just lining the tin with baking paper. But it’s way easier with the rice paper, as the nougat may well be the stickiest thing I have ever worked with in my life, and if it’s sandwiched with paper, you can pick it up and still have the use of your hands afterwards.
– when you cut it at the end, spray the knife with non-stick spray.
– when the sugar syrup reaches temperature, put the pan into a basin of cold water, just for a second, to take any major heat out of it. This stops the sugar syrup from over heating. The heat reached dictates the consistency of the nougat.
– be precise! Seriously, watch that thermometer like a hawk (and you do need a thermometer).
– you also need a stand mixer. You’ll wreck your arms trying to mix the batter as it is thick and sticky and setting all the time you’re working with it. This recipe will absolutely not work without one.
This recipe is rather loosely adapted from Donna Hay Magazine (Australia).