Posted by: Dawn on: April 1, 2012
This was the first of a few upcoming recipes that required some searching for weird ingredients. Namely: nougat. In both solid and cream form. While nougat certainly makes appearances in countless candies around here, you can’t actually buy just nougat. Luckily, Amazon came to the rescue on that one, and I now have a giant box of the almond honey version if anyone cares to give it a try.
Finding nougat cream was a little trickier, but with some google work I finally came across a recipe for nougat cream. Perfect. Except it was in French. However, between my basic French skills and Babelfish, I was able to get it sorted out without a problem.
So, what is nougat, you’re asking, other than the inside of a Snickers bar? It’s essentially a marshmallow with honey in it. The process for making nougat is exactly the same for making marshmallow – a hot sugar syrup is drizzled into whipped egg whites – except with nougat you drizzle hot honey into it as well. Marshmallows typically also contain gelatin to firm them up, but so does nougat if you want a more solid finished product. I think the ratio of egg whites to sugar is a bit different in the two sweets, since firm nougat has a very different texture from firm marshmallows, but that’s about it. As you’d expect, the flavor is very similar, and nougat cream has about the same consistency as melted marshmallows.
Of course, I was absolutely petrified that I was somehow making the wrong sort of nougat cream. That I’d go through all of this trouble and it would turn out absolutely horribly. Thankfully, when it came time to whip up the nougat pastry cream that makes up the middle of the cake, it all came together just like it was supposed to. I wound up with a light cream that was slightly honey flavored. Whew.
So what else is in this thing? From bottom to top: almond sponge cake with nougat pieces, nougat pastry cream, raspberries, some more nougat pastry cream, raspberry coulis, more nougat pasty cream, another layer of sponge cake with nougat pieces, then more raspberries and powdered sugar. As you’d expect, it came out absolutely deliciously and was worth the several hours it took to assemble on a Saturday night.
I only have two things I would change: I would use better raspberries (the coulis has very little sugar in it, so the flavor of the berries really comes through; sadly, the supermarket berries I used weren’t exactly all that impressive) and I would get the nougat into smaller pieces somehow. Even firm nougat is really sticky, so I just settled for chopping it into pieces with a chef’s knife. Sadly, the pieces turned out to be just a little too big when they were mixed in to the pastry cream: they wouldn’t pipe out nicely and they flat out got in the way. If I were to do it again, I’d try and run them through the food processor to see what would happen. I feel like there’s a good chance it might not work, but you never know until you try, right?
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