Nougat – Sour Cherry and Bitter Chocolate

This is my favourite nougat! I don’t like overly sweet food, but the sour cherry and bitter chocolate cut through the sweet nougat, making it perfectly balanced. Nougat requires some steps to make but it isn’t difficult per se. Stick to the recipe and the temperatures and you too can make amazing nougat! I can recommend making this with a freestanding planetary mixer, because it needs to have some power to it.
I get my dried cherries from the local nut shop at the market. They don’t have them on display but either have some in the back or I order them ahead of time.

Ingredients:

For the nougat base:

  • 15gr sugar
  • 35gr egg whites
  • 190gr sugar
  • 60gr glucose
  • 50gr water
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 115gr honey
  • 25gr white chocolate

For the filling:

  • 150gr whole almonds
  • 250gr dried sour cherries
  • 150gr 80% or higher bitter dark chocolate

Makes 50 pieces of nougat

Recipe:

Heat the oven to 110°C. Spread the almonds and cherries out over a baking tray.
Place the first portion of sugar (15gr) and the egg whites in the bowl of a freestanding mixer.
Combine the sugar, glucose and water in a thick based sauce pan. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add seeds and empty pod to the pan.

Place the honey in another thick based sauce pan. Heat it to 120°C without stirring. Once at 108°C, turn on the mixer with the egg whites and place the almond and cherries in the oven.
Take the honey off the fire and place the pan with the sugar on high heat. Do notstir!
Pour the honey in a slow stream into the beating egg whites. I turn the speed down a bit, pour some in, beat on high speed until incorporated, then add another slosh on lower speed to then crank the speed back up. This works for me, as it avoids the honey splattering against the side of the bowl and setting there. However, be careful to work fast anough to prevent the honey cooling down too much, but don’t add too much honey at a time as it may cause the eggs to split (although I have only ever have that happen once for Italian meringue but never with nougat).

Keep the egg whites beating.
Once the sugar reaches 155°C, pour this into the beating egg whites, being careful to not get boiling sugar splatters all over you. Pour in a thin, steady stream or with the method I use for the honey as explained above.

Beat for 3 minutes on a high speed. Then add the white chocolate. The mixture may split but it will come together again so don’t worry about that. Beat for 30 seconds until smooth.

Tip the nougat out on a silicone mat or a clean work area.
Add the almonds and cherries and knead together with (thin latex) gloved hands. The mixture will be hot but can be handled like this.
When the almonds and cherries have been incorporated, add the chocolate and knead very briefly until the chocolate has melted and marbled the nougat.

Place the nougat on a sheet of baking paper and cover the top as well. Leave to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and leave to set for 48 hours for easier cutting. It can be eaten once cool as well, but it improves when left to set for a week or so.

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