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