some things you should know about nougat:
1. it is the best treat for a train ride because it will make you feel as if you're on the polar express. never mind that you've just coated your teeth in sugar and won't be able to brush your teeth until the end of your 12 hour ride. cavities don't form on trains.
2. unless you have had it in europe or made it yourself, it's unlikely that you've had nougat at its optimum chewiness. (i know this because every time i see it in a store in the states, i give it the squishy test. not one has passed.) three musketeers bars don't count.
3. eggboy does not eat sugar, but he has snuck little bites of this at least once every hour since i made it.
4. it has been the fuel of our of farmhouse kitchen remodeling efforts. (more on this later...)
5. it is stressful to make because it involves getting two separate mixtures to two separate temperatures within a quick few minutes, while you whip up some egg whites, and it makes you kinda feel like an air traffic controller. i failed the first time and created a big blob of burnt disgusting shit and it happened to be the christening of my kitchen aid, so now i am terrified that my kitchen aid thinks i'm an idiot.
6. it keeps well, so i have sent some around as little thank-yous to kristin for these amazing lip balms, sara for cranberry mead (!!) mustard, and eitan for hot chocolate and for being my surprise cousin.
pistachio hazelnut nougat
based on this recipe from food & wine
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 2/3 c + 1 tb white sugar
1 3/4 c water
3/4 c honey
2 large egg whites
a pinch of kosher salt
3 c toasted hazelnuts, unsalted
3/4 c toasted pistachios, unsalted
in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and powdered sugar. line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment, spray it with cooking spray, and dust it with half of the cornstarch mixture. set the pan and the rest of the mixture aside.
get all of your other mixtures into place: in a large saucepan, combine 1 2/3 c sugar, the water, and 1/4 c honey. in a small saucepan, measure out the remaining 1/2 c honey. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (have this set up near the stove), place your egg whites and pinch of salt.
heat the sugar mixture on medium-high. once it reaches 245ºf, turn the heat down to medium-low, transfer your candy thermometer to the small saucepan with the honey, and bring your honey to a boil over medium-high heat. immediately begin beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. beat in the 1 tablespoon of white sugar. (do this while keeping an eye on the honey so you don't burn it...)
when the honey reaches 265ºf, add it to the egg whites in a steady drizzle with the mixer running at medium-high. reduce the speed of your mixer, and keep it going for the next step.
place your candy thermometer back into the sugar mixture, raise the heat to medium-high, and then when it reaches 305ºf, add it to the egg white mixture in a steady stream. beat on high for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale.
with an oiled wooden spoon, mix in the nuts, and then scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. press it into an even layer, sprinkle on the remaining cornstarch mixture and let cool. (this should take just a few hours, if that.) cut and serve, or store in an air tight container for up to two weeks.
enjoy! and then brush your teeth.