For all those people out there in blog land who are keen on doing some Christmas baking, I’m here to help. I’ve decide to put together a countdown of a few of my favourite recipes in the run up to Christmas. So starting today at Day 10 we have a Cranberry, Almond & Pistachio Nougat. Great for gifts or just having on hand for those unexpected visitors.
This recipe brings back lots of memories of Christmas as a child, when Mum & Dad would give us Callard & Bowser Nougat for Christmas. It became a bit of a tradition in our family and we only received it at Christmas time, as it was meant to be a very special treat. Even now after all these years I can still remember the smell and taste of the Nougat with it’s hint of rose water, crunchy nuts, and luscious cherries.
This recipe comes pretty close to the Callard & Bowser original, except I’ve swapped the cherries for dried cranberries. Unfortunately one piece is never enough, so I have to exert some self control and not scoff the whole damn lot when no one is looking.
A few words of advice when making this recipe…..
you must use a stand mixer. There is a lot of beating required and the mixture gets very thick at the end, so it would be impossible doing it by hand.
use a candy thermometer - it takes the guesswork out of getting the syrup to the right temperature at key points.
cook the syrup slowly on a very low temperature. You will think it’s going to take forever to get to the right temperature and be tempted to increase the heat. But don’t do it! You want a medium coloured syrup at the end, so don’t caramelise and darken it too much as your nougat won’t be white. Plus it will make the nougat harder to pour into the the baking pan and flatten if the syrup is overcooked. The nougat will lighten a bit as it dries out.
have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go when you start cooking. The last stage where you add the nuts and cranberries then pour into the baking pan needs to happen very quickly, or you’ll end up with a new abstract sculpture and no way of flattening it into the baking pan!
CRANBERRY, ALMOND & PISTACHIO NOUGAT
Adapted from recipe by Mindfood Magazine
2 - 3 sheets edible rice paper
2 ¼ c caster sugar
½ c liquid glucose
⅓ cup honey
2 egg whites - at room temp.
1 c almonds
1 c pistachios
1 c dried cranberries
2 tsp rose water
Line an 18 cm x 26 cm baking pan with baking paper. Cover the base with 1 – 2 sheets of rice paper, so it totally covers the bottom of the baking pan. Place the sugar, glucose, honey and 2 tbsp water in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir over a low heat for approximately 10 mins or until the glucose and sugar dissolves, and the mixture comes to the boil. Boil to 120°C on a candy thermometer then take off the heat, and quickly remove ¾ c of the hot syrup. Put the remaining syrup back on the heat and simmer without stirring for 10 mins, or until mixture reaches 155°C or is at the ‘hard crack’ stage.
When the syrup passes 100°C start beating the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. With the mixer running add the ¾ c of hot syrup (120°C) in a slow thin stream, continue beating on high until the mixture holds its shape, approx. 5 mins.
When the remaining syrup reaches the correct temperature (155°C), add the syrup to the beaten egg whites in a slow steady stream with mixer motor running. Continue beating for 1 minute or until well combined. Working quickly fold in the nuts, cranberries and rose water. Then spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Cover with the remaining rice paper, and a layer of baking paper. Using another baking pan press evenly on top of the nougat to flatten out the top surface and spread the nougat out to the edges of the pan.
Set aside to cool and set. Remove the nougat from the baking pan and store the whole block wrapped in the baking paper in an airtight container in a cool place. Do not refrigerate as the nougat will become sticky. Initially the nougat will be chewy to eat but if you leave it whole for a few days it will dry out and be much easier to cut.
Cut into squares or strips with a dry heated knife. For gifts, wrap pieces individually in cellophane.
Note: Edible rice paper is available at specialty food stores.
All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2018