Ninazero has a great blog: Voodoo Kitchen is full of fascinating bits-and-pieces, it’s another one I love to go for a visit. Careful though, her wit’s so sharp it can cut you LOL.This firecracker sells great stuff too, check it out, it’s worth a visit. Anyway, Miss Zero left a comment that mentioned nougat. Nougat (pr. noo-gar ) is a very sweet confection made with a sugar syrup – like the panforte I talked about in this post. Ihad mentioned that I had made nougat last Christmas and was asked if I’d share the recipe I used. I’d also like to share a photo but here I have to advise you to do a Google Images search, there’s plenty out there t look at 🙂 Plenty of recipes too, maybe have a look at some, see which one takes your fancy.
Anyway, here’s the recipe I used. It’s from Taste.com. I didn’t use the glace cherries, and I added pistachios as well as almonds. You will need a candy/sugar thermometer to make the syrup. People will say you can do it without one – and you can, but believe me, it is so much easier to use one for this kind of thing. Mine wasn’t that expensive and actually has indicators on the thing that say “syrup”, “soft ball”, “hard crack” etc, etc so all the guess work is gone and sugar work becomes a pleasure.
In Italy nougat is called torrone and it is another of those centuries-old, unique and distinct European confections. It is very sweet and the texture can range from pull-your-fillings-out chewy to quite brittle. The warm, humid weather will soften nougat. It is traditionally filled with toasted almonds but I have used pistachio too. I also added chopped up red jelly sweets to mine last year (I remember this because I bought “raspberry” flavoured frogs and snipped them up with scissors…) You could prove yourself much more sophisticated by using chopped up Turkish Delight (not the chocolate coated one, the Persian one that comes coated in icing sugar/cornflour and is flavoured usually with rosewater or lemon).
I don’t know when and where the pink bits entered the nougat but I love them. I have to admit to actually liking my whole slab of nougat tinted pale pink…I think I have a dim, distant memory of having this in England in the 1960’s. (when I was only a baby, ha,ha,ha) Purists would probably purse their lips tight and my fellow gastronomers might even petition to have me removed from the course if they knew about the chopped-up red frogs in my nougat but what the hey? Life’s short and eating should be about what feels good – in your mouth and in your mind 🙂