Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not Nougat

I've always wanted to have nut-free, crap-free nougat.  Not because I'm allergic to nuts but I just want to enjoy a piece of soft, smooth unadulterated nougat.  So, I took it upon myself to make some nut-free nougats since I have the Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner book.  That book is like a textbook for confectioners, it gives recipes by weight and its ratio, how to temper chocolate.  So, I thought I can't fail with this book!

Here is my photo essay on my nougat failure.  No recipe as it was a failure:

Montelimar Nougat
Actually, to be able to call a nougat a Montelimar Nougat, it has to come from the Montelimar region in France and contain at least 28% almonds, 25% honey, and 2% pistachios.  The name Nougat de Montelimar is protected by the AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée, or controlled term of origin).

Egg whites with powdered egg whites to be whipped...gross looking

Boiling honey to something like 255F

Cocoa butter.  EXPENSIVE!

Whipping the egg whites

I had to transfer the honey to a larger pot because it was bubbling like crazy.
I think I might have scored the honey a bit here.

Sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, water to be boiled to 310F

For the longest time, the egg whites were at about the volume in previous picture,
then I turned around to tend to the syrup for all of 2 minutes and it puffed up like this.
Beautiful fluff.

Whipping with the boiled honey.  Looking like a nougat.  But not as white.

"Whipping" with the sugar syrup mix.  I think I really burned the syrup.  The house reeked.
And the "nougat" solidified in an instant, splashing the remainder unabsorbed syrup onto me.

Mr. Meow dug out what he could.  This is my Not Nougat...let alone it being Montelimar style.
It's a rock.

Stuck to the bowl.

Battle wounds: burn blister on my middle finger

More battle wounds: burn blisters on my palm.
Battle wounds not on display: 2 blisters on my collar bone.
In the end, even if I had succeeded, my nougat wouldn't be a Montelimar because it doesn't have the right nut content in it.

The one thing I think I should do next time I feel like burning myself with sugar syrup at 310F is to use a heavy bottom pot to boil the stuff so it doesn't burn and make my nougat yellow.  Alas, I have a ceramic cook top and copper pots are forbidden to touch it even if I'm willing to open up my wallet to pay $300 for a 1 quart French made copper pot.  I think I'll put off nougat making for a least until the burn wounds have completely healed.


  1. I don't think it is your fault. The recipe seems a bit odd.

    After a sugar syrup climbs above 300°F it begins to caramelize, no matter what pan you cook it in (copper, aluminum, or a tin can). At 310°F you have a light caramel on your hands, which is good for toffee... but nougats too?

    I've never had a great recipe for nougat cross my path, but I assumed they would be made with syrups in the 250-300°F range (depending on how firm you want the end result. I prefer the softer type but some nougats are supposed to be hard).

    I might try my hand at this someday, it feels like a fun challenge. Though it looks messy (like marshmallows, argh!) and that is a unspeakably large amount of cocoa butter. I'm almost afraid to ask how much it cost.

  2. Oh man, I can so relate to that! But I went too far the other way and under-cooked the sugar syrup this time, resulting in something too soft to cut into pieces. I'm wondering what to do with it as it's full of expensive pistachios and almonds. Any ideas?

  3. Carolyn,

    If your nougat is just soft but can stand on its own, you can probably just enjoy it as a soft nougat. Or if it's a bit softer than that, perhaps chill it in the fridge to firm it up and coat it in chocolate?