Apricot and Almond Nougat

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Apricot and Almond Nougat

Serves: Makes a lot!
Cost: ~€4.90
Preparation and cooking time: ~30 minutes + ~4 hours setting
Calories: A lot (it’s virtually all sugar)

Today I thought it was time to revisit my nougat recipe which I posted some time ago. We had gone shopping in a large supermarket in early July and they were gearing up for Ramadan. Since France has a large muslim population then just before and during the festival of Ramadan it’s always easy to find a whole treasure trove of ingredients which are not normally that easily available. The same is true during Chinese New Year when some stores devote entire aisles to vast freezers containing giant boxes of shrimp and absolutely gargantuan sacks of rice and other Chinese staples, to name but a few.

One of the things I eagerly grabbed from the shelf during this trip was a large tub of honey-flavoured glucose syrup.

“What are you going to use all that glucose syrup for?”, my wife asked with a shocked look on her face.

“Ah, erm, I’m going to, er, make, candies and, er, stuff!”, I sheepishly replied. Yes – I hadn’t really thought that far ahead. I just saw it and immediately went into “bargain-hunting” mode. The last time I wanted glucose syrup I had to order it online and pay a fortune for delivery (including 2 separate trips to a local delivery point when DHL incorrectly reported it as being “delivered” on their website), so to be able to get it from a store – and a honey-flavoured variety too? What a joy!

Apricot and Almond Nougat

I thought about making Turkish Delight but I still had a pack full of wafer paper left over from when I made Calissons so I needed something which would use up some of my stash of that. Well, it just so happened that we also had giant bags of almonds and apricots on hand (thanks to the supermarket selling these on a special deal for Ramadan as well) so I made up my mind – nougat it would be!

Now, you are going to need a sugar thermometer for this and you’re also going to have to do some calculations for best results. Did you know that you need to adjust the cooking temperature based on where you live? For every 300m above sea-level that you’re making this, you should subtract 1 degree Celsius from the final temperature (for you non-metric users, that’s 1 degree Fahrenheit for every 500ft).

For nougat, sugar is heated to something called a “hard ball” stage. Dropping some molten sugar into a glass of water will form a hard ball which won’t collapse when removed, although it should still be malleable when squashed, and the magical temperature? Hard ball stage is achieved between 122 and 129 degrees Celsius – a small window to yield deliciousness. You may need to experiment to identify the perfect temperature for your preferred consistency but it’s well worth it. This makes a fantastic gift for friends and family, or just to enjoy alone!

Grab your sugar thermometer and let’s go make nougat!

Apricot and Almond Nougat

Video Recipe

Ingredients

Nougat ingredients

  • 500g Honey-flavoured Glucose Syrup
  • 500g Caster Sugar
  • 250g Whole Almonds
  • 150g Dried Apricots
  • 100ml Water
  • 3 Egg Whites

You’ll also need

  • 2 x A4 sheets of Wafer Paper
  • An electric mixer or whisk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to ~160 degrees Celsius. Place the almonds onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or so to ensure that the nuts are crisp and dry.
    Toasting the almonds
  2. Once toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a board with the apricots and chop both roughly.
    Chopping the apricots and almonds
  3. Line a large, square-sided baking tray with one of the sheets of wafer paper and set aside. Place the sugar, glucose syrup and water into a large saucepan and stir together to mix. Place your sugar thermometer into the pan and place the pan on the stove, on a high heat.
    Preparing the sugar and glucose
  4. Bring the sugar mixture to the boil, occasionally stirring very gently. When the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat slightly and continue boiling the sugar. At this point, do not stir it any longer. While the sugar is continuing to boil, whisk the egg whites  in a large, heat-proof bowl until you have stiff peaks.
    Whisking the egg whites
  5. When the sugar mixture reaches 125 degrees Celsius immediately remove from the heat. Gently pour it into the egg whites, while whisking continuously. Once all the sugar is mixed in, stir in the chopped almonds and apricots and then pour the contents of the bowl into the tray lined with wafer paper.
    Waiting for the nougat to set
  6. Smooth out to completely cover the base of the tin and gently press another sheet of wafer paper on top. Set aside in a cool place and allow to set for about 4 hours before turning out, slicing up and enjoying.
    Apricot and Almond Nougat
    Apricot and Almond Nougat

 

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43 Comments

  1. I like the new email format Charles! Love seeing you and William! :) This apricot and almond nougat looks so good!

    Reply
    • Thanks Nami – figured it was time for a change – really didn’t like the old format!

      Reply
  2. What is wafer paper? I’ve attempted to make nougat before (Italian Torroni) and the first time it worked but the second time it failed miserably — maybe it was the temperature thing? I must figure that out, thanks for the tip. I’ve never seen glucose syrup, is that like corn syrup? I’d love a taste of that nougat right about now!

    Reply
    • Hi Eva – Wafer paper is like, er… rice paper I think it’s sometimes called. The stuff used as a base for coconut macaroons:
      http://amzn.com/B00024WNVI

      Relatively tasteless, but perfect as a base or container for sticky things. Glucose syrup, I suppose is a bit like corn syrup. I think you could probably substitute it, but you should probably read up about it in case it reacts differently at different heats.

      Reply
  3. I would love some of those gorgeous nougats SO much. Candy is something I don’t have consistent success with … even if my nut/seed brittle attempts are usually good. I’m still annoyed about the mondo fail of making Turkish delight which resulted in my having to throw away my only small enameled saucepan. :( I guess I’ll have to trot down to the middle eastern grocery store again.

    Reply
    • Thanks A_ – Turkish delight is something I still plan to tackle… especially since I have so much rose water in the cupboard!

      I want to try hard candies too… Now I have my trusty candy thermometer I feel like I might be luckier. In the past they’ve always had a dreadful burnt flavour to them – not good!

      Reply
      • I have to buy a good quality dedicated candy thermometer. I have TWO thermometers that I use for deep frying and candy and they don’t come up to temperature in time so my fudge seems to burn by the time it says it’s at soft ball stage.

        Reply
  4. I love this stuff and have often thought about making it. Your post inspires me to do so. I always grab a handful from the ME store when I’m there but they’re not cheap. The nougat looks fabulous Charles.

    Love your new email notification! Mail chimp looks pretty cool, I’ve been using Wysija, they’re pretty good too.

    Oh, and I made the no knead bread, came out beautifully!

    Nazneen

    Reply
    • Thanks Nazneed – and I’m really pleased the bread came out well – I’ve taken to making baguettes with the dough – they work incredibly well!

      Reply
  5. I’ve never heard of glucose syrup. I’ll have to check my “everything” store. I’m always so impressed with homemade candy. They look so pretty. I bet these were great too. It’s totally my kind of candy too. No chocolate!

    Reply
    • Hi Kristy – you may have luck if there’s any kind of Arabic store nearby – it’s used a lot in North African cakes and candies. Alternatively Amazon might have it… hold-up, they do:
      http://www.amzn.com/B004XZHGVE/

      11lb of Glucose Syrup for $50… bargain. Holy cow, that’s a lot of glucose! They have smaller tubs though, lol!

      Reply
    • Thanks Karen – it was really nice… sweet as anything though :D

      Reply
  6. Well, Eva beat me to all of my questions after reading this post, so I won’t ask again. But I will say that this is a gorgeous looking nougat. Love the richness of the color and the almonds and apricots look so delicious. I’ll confess, I am not much of a candy maker for the very reasons you state about it being temperamental to weather conditions and altitude…but I do love it!

    Reply
    • Thanks Betsy – it would be nice to not live in-land somewhere with no real idea how high up you are, but I think the result is fairly good – It’s definitely a learning curve though. Fortunately it’s a fun, sweet learning curve :D

      Reply
  7. I am also guilty of impulse buying. My kitchen has things in it I know I’ll use, one day. I just love nougat and I love the look of your honey nougat – I do like nougat to have a strong honey taste. I’ll try this because I’m off to a dinner party of Saturday night and this will make a lovely hostess gift xx

    Reply
    • Thanks Charlie – hope you’re able to try it… it’s very tasty, albeit sweet. Great in small quantities! :)

      Reply
  8. I live at sea level (in my back yard) so I won’t need to be making any calculations. :)

    I have the wafer paper but it’s not in A4 size. I don’t know where I’d get that here. I’ll paste mine together.

    I love the new email format, Charles!

    Reply
    • Thanks Maureen – I suppose next you’ll tell me that not only do you live *at* sea level, but you have the ocean behind your house? :D

      No need to paste them together – just lay them over the top… overlap the edges and it will work fine :)

      Reply
  9. These were dangerously good. My waistline is very glad that most of the batch went to work with you! ;-)

    Reply
    • Hrmph, no-one appreciated my nougat there… though that didn’t stop them from eating it :p.

      Reply
  10. Charles, this nougat looks even more impressive than the last one (which already looked extraordinary). I am in awe of your confectionery skills! Personally I’m not a fan of nougat due to its sugar content (even when it’s delicious, I can only have a small bite with very bitter coffee…), but my husband loves it (though it’s me who is crazy for dried apricot ;-) ). I will remember your recipe when I feel like preparing him a surprise!

    Reply
    • Mm, it’s outrageously sweet. I felt like I immediately wanted to clean my teeth, lol but it was fun to make.

      To be honest my colleagues at work didn’t “approve” of the nougat because they said it wasn’t “traditional”… because I decided to put apricots and almonds instead of… whatever it normally has then apparently that made it “bad”, although that didn’t stop them from eating plenty of it!

      Reply
  11. Very nice looking nougat Charles. I’m curious what it is about the corn syrup (glucose syrup) that captivates you — is it a taste thing or is there a chemical property that seems to work especially well in this recipe? Just wondering whether it’s possible to use honey or maple syrup in this recipe instead. The almond and apricot is delightful.

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly, if I’m honest it’s habit. This is for me what represents the ideal ingredient for candy-making. Honey could be used for this – the honey flavour would be strong which would be wonderful, though it does heat differently and it’s not an ingredient I’ve used that often. It’s also quite expensive compared to this. Maple syrup – I must say I can’t really imagine a nougat with maple syrup flavour. It seems really strange to think of, though perhaps it might be good, though maple syrup is outrageously expensive here… €5 for maybe 150ml or less… :(

      I know you probably don’t approve of such overly processed sugars, but it’s not something I have in the house every day! :)

      Reply
  12. Charles these are beautiful! I disagree there are some healthy things in here like almonds and dried nectarines. This is a lovely treat after a meal. For some reason, even though I have subscribed to your posts I am no longer receiving them. Can you take a look at that on your end? Thanks, BAM

    Reply
    • Hi Bam – do you mean you subscribed by email? I just checked out my mailing list and I can’t see your address on it (unless you used a different one…) – I did switch to a different newsletter service recently but I was sure to import all the addresses from the old service. Maybe you could subscribe again?

      Reply
  13. I don’t think I’ve ever had nougat with fruit it in . Love the idea and I do love nougat, especially this nougat. I’ll pay for shipping. :)

    Reply
    • Thanks MJ – it’s very good indeed… very sweet, but worth it as a little treat every now and again :)

      Reply
  14. This is one of the things I haven’t made yet. Definitely it would be in my to do list

    Reply
    • Heh, I don’t think I’ve ever had nougat *without* fruit… oh, wait… occasionally with just nuts, but they commonly sell it here with different fruits too!

      Reply
  15. so awesome and delicious! I would love to use that wafer paper for this recipe and others bc I would imagine it would be so versatile. However- where do I find wafer paper?

    Reply
    • Hi KB – you can buy wafer paper on Amazon.com actually – it’s not very expensive :)

      Reply
  16. Very, very impressive Charles! Will have to buy some glucose syrup in the UK and make this in Spain (where my thermometer lives) and subtract 2 degrees as we live at 660m above sea level!

    Reply
    • Hi Chica, you’ll have to take a little stove to the top of the mountain near your place and try and make it there too and report back the results! :D

      Reply
  17. Oh I WANT this so MUCH!!!
    It looks so good, I can imagine how delicious it would be with the fruit and nut… I am going to have to make it :)

    Reply
    • I hope you can GG – it’s really tasty… I had to take most of it to work though! Dangerous to have so much around the house, lol!

      Reply
  18. William and you…that’s an adorable pic. The nougats look fantastic. Love the clicks too :) Love the way your page looks now. So streamlined and clean.

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot Minnie! :)

      Reply
  19. Making this at home could prove to be very dangerous
    I love nougat and having that much of it sitting around would be a true test lol

    Reply
    • Oh yeah… it helps if you have some colleagues willing to be your taste-testers!

      Reply