Christmas in Nice is not conceivable without having on hand at least two kinds of nougat—the black and the white. Since commercially made nougat is so remote from what it should be, it is well worth learning how to make this delicious and healthy confection. Besides, the whole process of making it—the smell, the color, the taste—is a delightful experience.
Place the almonds and hazelnuts or pistachios on a baking sheet in a 300° oven. Stirring with a wooden spoon, heat the water and sugar until the candy thermometer reads 290°.
Meanwhile, in another pan, heat the honey, stirring with a wooden spoon until the thermometer also reads 290°.
Mix the honey and the sugar syrup slowly and carefully add the beaten egg whites. Pour the mixture into one of the saucepans and heat over a very low flame for a few minutes. Add the warm nuts and stir with the wooden spoon.
Oil a bread pan. Place a sheet of waxed paper on it and butter it (you may use baker’s wafer instead of waxed paper). Pour the nougat mixture into it and place a buttered sheet of waxed paper on top. Wrap a piece of cardboard or wood the size of the bread pan with aluminum foil. Put it on top of the nougat, then weight it down with something heavy (canned food, bricks, or heavy pebbles). Or pour the mixture into a loaf pan and push another loaf pan into it and then weight it down with heavy jars.
Let the nougat cool at room temperature. Unmold, cut into 2-inch strips, and wrap in aluminum foil. This will keep well at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.