Family Advent Calendar, Day 10: Make & Eat Chewy Christmas Nougat [with Pistachios and Dried Cherries]

2013Day10Nougat

It’s time to make more treats the kids have never tried before!
Today we’ll be tackling Chewy Christmas Nougat [with pistachios and dried berries].
This recipe took FOREVER to formulate…so, please, enjoy!!!!

Chewy Christmas Nougat with Pistachios and Dried Cherries

Chewy Christmas Nougat [with Pistachios and Dried Cherries]

an adaptation of flavour profiles and recipes from Bon Appetit, Anna Olson, and Gail Monoghan
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season

Equipment

  • Plastic wrap
  • Thin rice paper* for candy making or parchment & baking spray, butter, or oil
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Stand mixer
  • Wax paper [optional]

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c unsalted pistachios in their skins
  • 1 c dried cherries cranberries, or currants,  or a mix [we used cherries]
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c honey [or more corn syrup]
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 egg whites from large or extra large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter room temperature
  • gel or liquid food colour [optional we used green]

Instructions

  • In an oven set to 350, roast pistachios until just light golden brown in patches, for about 7-10 minutes.
  • While pistachios are roasting, prepare an 8x8 in pan as follows:
  • Coat an 8x8 square baking pan in plastic wrap large enough to enable you to lift nougat out of pan after cooling.
  • If using rice paper, cut 2 sheets of rice paper to 8x8 squares and set them aside.
  • If using parchment, cut 1 sheet of parchment to 8x8, insert into pan and grease or spray with baking spray.
  • When pistachios have finished roasting, let cool and chop coarsely.
  • Set aside in a bowl with the dried fruit.
  • In a heavy 3-4 qt pot, over medium heat, mix sugar, syrup, honey, salt and water until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Insert and attach candy thermometer.
  • Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches 255F.
  • In the meantime, as the syrup is heating, beat the egg whites with the whisk of a stand mixer at high speed to stiff peaks.
  • When the syrup has reached the desired temperature, remove syrup from the burner for a moment and pour .25 c of the syrup into a measuring cup.
  • Return the pot of syrup to the burner.
  • Turn the mixer back on to high speed and gradually pour that .25 c of the syrup over the egg whites.
  • Continue to beat at high speed as you heat the pot of syrup to the stove to 305F.
  • You should continue to run the mixer on high for about 5 minutes, stopping when the mixture has become stiff again.
  • When the remaining syrup has reached 305, and with the mixer turned back to high speed [if it has been off] pour the syrup slowly over the egg mixture as it beats.
  • Mixture will puff up momentarily. And, yes, it will be golden brown.
  • Beat again, adding the soft butter and extract, until the mixture is stiff and can hold its shape [another 5 mins].
  • Add drops of food or gel colouring if desired.
  • Stir in toasted pistachios and dried fruit with the mixer or with a rubber spatula to distribute.
  • If using rice paper, line bottom of pan with 1 8x8 square of rice paper.
  • Pour nougat into baking dish.
  • Use a spatula to attempt to distribute the nougat evenly into the dish.
  • If using rice paper, line top of nougat with 1 8x8 square of rice paper.
  • You can press down a bit on the rice paper to make the surface flat.
  • Let cool for at least 2 hours.
  • [If, after several hours, the nougat doesn't seem to hold its shape, place it on a baking tray in a very low heat oven for several hours. It is unlikely that this will be necessary.]
  • Slice into desired portions with a sharp, hot, dry knife.
  • For that extra Christmas polish, wrap portions in rectangles of waxed paper and twist edges.
  • Store in an airtight container or tin.

Notes

*Toronto folks: we found rice paper right in our own neighbourhood at Madame Gateaux, 2034 Danforth

 

Triptych chewy christmas nougat

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