Soft nougat from Montélimar is traditionally made with lavender honey, almonds, pistachios, and dried fruit. More savory than sweet, it has a nutty taste and can be a great snack for any time of day.
|Hazelnuts, whole, skinned|
|Almonds, sliced, skinned|
|Dried apricots, diced|
|Dried cherries, diced|
|Candied orange peel, diced|
|Sugar, for the syrup|
|Sugar, for egg whites|
|Dark couverture, 63%, tempered|
1 Spread the hazelnuts and almonds on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 340&F/171.1&C until golden brown. Add the pistachios and roast for 3 minutes. (Do not roast the pistachios for too long, or they will lose their nice green color.) Remove from the oven.
2 Mix the nuts with the apricots, cherries, and orange peel, and keep warm.
3 To make the syrup, combine the sugar, water, and glucose in a saucepan and heat to 311&F/155.0&C.
4 Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and sugar and whip to soft peaks.
5 Heat the honey to 248&F/120.0&C. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the honey to the beaten egg whites.
6 Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave.
7 After the honey has been incorporated, add the cooked sugar syrup in a steady stream and whip the mixture on low speed until it cools, about 20 minutes.
8 Pour the melted cocoa butter slowly into the egg whites and mix well.
9 Add the fruit and nut mixture and carefully mix into the egg white mixture using a spatula.
10 Pour into a 10-in/254-mm square frame on a Silpat and cover with another Silpat.
11 Use a rolling pin to level the nougat and push it into the corners of the frame.
Leave the nougat to set overnight at room temperature, covered with the Silpat.
12 Remove the frame and Silpat and transfer the nougat slab to a cutting board. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut the nougat into eight strips 1¼ in/32 mm wide, then cut each strip into ¾-in/19-mm pieces.
13 Using a dipping fork, dip the nougat into the melted couverture to coat all sides but the top. Place on parchment paper, and let set for 30 minutes at room temperature.
14 In order to protect the nougat from moisture in humid areas, apply edible lacquer to the exposed side.
© 2011 All rights reserved. Published by Wiley.