Here is a treat for you this week: French Nougat. Not just any nougat but Montelimar-style nougat. The place known for this candy was mentioned in George Harrison's/Beatles Savoy Truffle and I have been looking for a recipe for maybe forever. Thank goodness for the internet and now you'll find plenty of similar recipes for Montelimar-style nougat. The recipe I chose to adapt seemed like the most authentic-sounding and I used lavender honey for the honey. I tell you the candies are soooo good. You can't eat just one.
To make the candies I used potato wafer sheets. The rice or potato papers taste and look like communion wafers (host) and are called ostia in Italy (torrone) and in Spain (turron). I love to wrap crunchy almond praline in it and munch on the plain scraps which always remind of Holy Communion. You can purchase the papers here or here.
two sheets rice or potato paper
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ cup water
3 egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon brandy
1½ cups whole blanched almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
¼ teaspoon salt
- Line a 7 x 11-inch pan with one rice paper and set it aside.
- In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar, honey, corn syrup, and water, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Begin to beat the egg whites while the sugar mixture continues cooking. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan and continue cooking without stirring.
- Beat the egg whites on high until stiff, wet peaks form.
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 300°F, pour it very slowly and steadily into the egg whites, whisking them the entire time. Add the lemon zest and continue whisking the hot nougat mixture for 10 minutes, until it cools slightly and thickens.
- Stir the vanilla, brandy, almonds, pistachios, and salt into the nougat and quickly spread it onto the prepared pan. Gently place the second piece of rice paper on top of the nougat and evenly press it into the nougat so that no air bubbles remain.
- Cover the nougat in an airtight container or plastic wrap and allow it to set for 3 to 5 days before cutting into 1-inch squares. Wrap individually in plastic film.