I have a sad truth to tell you. I haven’t baked in 5 weeks. Say what?! 5 whole, long weeks out of my beloved kitchen. I know, it pains me. I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.
The only thing that’s made this absence slightly sweeter is the crazy fun adventures that have got between me and the flour. They include 2 patisseries crawls, 100 patisserie shop windows, 10 plays, caper berries (try them, they’re so great), 2 weeks with God and thousands of amazing people in a field , tiramisu ice-cream, Hunt and Darton café , Angelina’s, watermelon Tic-tacs and the leaning tower of Pisa. All this travelling and time to think has also inspired many new and exciting recipe concepts for you. Watch out, recipe #1’s coming at ya.
Think nougat. Now scrap that pink and white striped, semi-hard, cellophane-wrapped candy you had as a kid and refocus your thoughts on soft, chewy, mallowy nougat studded with dark chocolate, toasted almonds and homemade candied orange peel. Better thought? I think so.
Adding honey to the mix makes this recipe a whole lot sweeter. And the bees very happy. They’ll want a piece too if you’re not careful.
Italian nougat, as my summer travels have revealed, is something we Brits have taken, messed with to make it last longer, travel better and cost less, and essentially ruined. So let’s bin the candy stripes and pick up the honey jar. It’s nougat time.
Now this recipe requires very, very hot sugar. You’ve been warned. If you’re the kind of person who’s likely to drop a pan of boiling sugar when put under pressure I’d advise you try these instead. I’m just looking out for your fingers.
You’ll also have to work very quickly when it gets to juggling (not literally, let’s not get confused) different temperature sugar syrups and egg whites, so it might be helpful to have an extra pair of hands nearby. That’s unless you have a Kitchen Aid, in which case lucky you.
Dark chocolate, toasted almond and tangy orange nougat
220g caster sugar
150g liquid glucose
1 egg white
90g whole almonds
100g dark chocolate, cut into chunks
80g homemade candied orange peel, diced (see next post for recipe)
Line the base of an 18cm x 18cm baking tin with baking paper, and oil both the paper and the sides of the tin with about a tsp. of vegetable oil.
Place the sugar, glucose, honey and 60ml water into a heavy-based saucepan and stir on a low heat until all the sugar’s dissolved. Increase the temperature and let the mixture boil until the syrup reaches 130°C.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg white until it forms stiff peaks. With your mixer still running, add half of the syrup in a slow and steady stream, ensuring it’s all mixed in. Whilst continuing to whisk the egg white and syrup mixture, return the remaining syrup to the heat and boil until it reaches 154°C. When that temperature’s reached, gradually pour the hot syrup into the mixture in the same way, whisking all the while.
Whisk the nougat mix until it becomes very, very thick. This may take up to 10 minutes. Stir in the nuts, chocolate and candied peel, and spoon into the prepared tin. Smooth the top as best you can with a palette knife and leave to cool completely for a minimum of 3 hours, although the longer you leave it the easier it will be to cut.
Turn out onto a board, remove the baking paper and cut into 3cm x 3cm squares. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.