The March 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.
Well, I can’t say it was a super easy challenge and I can’t say it was a total success either. I didn’t want a hard nougat, so I decided not to take the sugar syrup to the required temperature as set out in the recipe, which in comparison with some other recipes, seemed quite high. I took it instead (and obviously mistakenly) to just over 140 degrees celcius/290 degrees fahrenheit. Well.. I got a nice soft nougat alright, but the problem was that in not setting hard, it became a bit of a sticky mess. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I couldn’t source any rice paper either, so it was next to impossible to keep the individual pieces from sticking to each other like glue. And, to top it all off, I tried cutting the nougat before it set properly – yes, patience is not one of my virtues!
Okay, now that I’ve got the negatives out of the way, the positive is that it was extremely yummy! In fact it was hard to stop eating it! I took my inspiration from this recipe from Dixie Elliott of New Zealand’s Mind Food.com. I loved the idea of adding rose water into the nougat and decided to go one step further and add Rose Turkish Delight. Now, I’m not sure this was the cleverest idea I’ve ever had! Firstly, the resulting flavour was full on rose (funny that!), so if you want to keep the Rose Turkish Delight in, I’d recommend reducing the rose water down from 2 teaspoons to 1 teaspoon – or you could even take it out altogether. Secondly, the addition of the Turkish Delight (which is very sweet in its own right), made the resulting nougat overly sweet, so I reduced the sugar by a quarter cup to two cups, but I reckon you could reduce it even further. So, after all of that, the question is.. was it worth adding the Turkish Delight? Well, it was if you’re a Turkish Delight fan. As for me, I found the flavour and sweetness a tad too cloying and if I went back, I’d probably stick to the original recipe and just use rose water for the flavouring.
Having said that, I’m not likely to try this one again. I’m not really into confectionery that much to be honest. But it was delicious (a bit too delicious really!) and if you’re a fan of nougat, or want to make it for Christmas gifts, it would definitely be worth experimenting to perfect it.
ROSE TURKISH DELIGHT NOUGAT
Makes approx. 30 pieces
- 4 sheets edible rice paper
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1/2 cup liquid glucose
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup blanched almonds (lightly toasted)
- ½ cup pistachios (lightly toasted)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 125g chopped Rose flavoured Turkish Delight (I used Hazer Baba)
- 1-2 tsp rose water
- Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm lamington pan with baking paper. Cover base with rice paper.
- Place sugar, glucose, honey and water in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until glucose and sugar dissolves and mixture comes to the boil. Simmer without stirring for 10 minutes or until mixture reaches 164°C (327°F) on a candy thermometer (you may well need to brush down any build up of sugar on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush).
- When the sugar mix is near the required temperature, start beating the egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff. As soon as the syrup is ready and with the electric mixer running, add the syrup to the egg whites in a slow steady stream along the side of the bowl (not directly on top of the egg whites or they’ll deflate). Continue beating for 1 minute or until well combined.
- Stir in nuts, cranberries and rose water and spoon the mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly (it will already start to set so you’ll need to move quickly). Cover with remaining rice paper, if using. Or, you can cover with extra baking paper and press down with your hands or a heavy weight (like a rolling pin or bottle) to ensure the mixture is level.
- Set aside to cool and set. When set, remove from pan and cut into squares or strips. For gifts, wrap pieces individually in cellophane. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Do not refrigerate nougat as it will become sticky.