Food from the World: the Nougat

Every time I think about nougat a bit of saliva drops from the inner corner of my mouth. It’s the taste of my childhood and its smell always reminds me of when my dad used to come home from work and I would search through all his pockets in search of something delicious.

And the small nougat pieces never let me down! The way they stuck to my hands and my lips was absolutely dreadful but I loved every moment of it. And before sounding like a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, I am going to stop here with the descriptions.

Where Did Nougat Come From?

nougat-recipe
Photo source: sbs.com.au

There are many legends about the birth of the nougat. Some say that the nougat was born during the 15th century in Italy when Maria Visconti married Francesco Sforza. This amazing sweet was made for the first time at the wedding of the couple and it was shaped as the bell tower of the Cremona cathedral (torrazzo– the Italian word for nougat).

Since this dessert is so good, everyone claims it. The word ‘nougat’ is supposed to come from the French word ‘nogat’ (Old Provencal) that means ‘nut cake’.

3 Bonus Facts About Nougat

Spain – Spanish people have nougat too, but they call it turrón. It can be found in both soft and hard varieties with whole almonds or ground ones. For a softer consistency, the ground almonds are mixed with sugar, honey and egg whites.

Africa – yes, Africans too have their type of nougat. It is made with fruits, as opposed to nuts.

Iran – in Persia, the nougat is known under the name of Gaz and it differentiates itself from the European kinds due to its sweetness. The secret is represented by the gaz-angebin, a plant that comes from the desert and has a milky and sweet consistency. Ingredients like pistachio or rosewater and almond kernels can be added.

Delicious Nougat Recipe

1 1/2 cups honey
3 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 lemon
1/2 orange, grated

How to prepare it?

nougat-recipe
Photo source: toetenzo.nl

1. Start by pouring the honey into a double boiler and let it simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring frequently with the help of a wooden spoon.

2. Meanwhile toast the hazelnuts and almonds in the oven for 15 minutes. Wait until they get a golden brown color and 10 minutes before the honey is done, put the sugar in a small pan with 5 tablespoons of water. Cook everything until it gets a caramelized aspect.

3. Beat the egg whites and when they are stiff, incorporate them into the honey, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the caramelized sugar and mix.

4. Add the hazelnuts, almonds, lemon and orange mixing everything for a few minutes. Put this combination into a rectangular pan and cover everything with some baking paper. Let it rest for 30 minutes-1 hour with a weight on top. After 1 hour turn upside down and cut into small pieces. Store these pieces in a clean container with wax paper between them.

This is a simple recipe that can be done even by those who are not that great in the kitchen. So why don’t you try it?

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