The idea of working with boiling sugar often fills people with a fair bit of trepidation. Don't be scared - it's easy! Armed with a sugar thermometer, you can actually make amazing, delicious sweet gifts and treats very easily. Here I'm making cherry nougat - easily customisable and super delicious, you'll wonder why it took you so long to give it a try!
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.
2. On a baking sheet place the almonds and roast in the hot oven for 10 minutes or so, just to ensure the nuts are nice and dry.
3. Once toasted, remove from the oven and chop roughly. Set aside to cool.
4. Line a baking tray, with a depth of at least 1 or 2cm with one of the sheets of Wafer Paper .
5. Cut the cherries in half.
6. Whisk the egg-whites, with a pinch of salt, in a heat-proof bowl, to stiff peaks.
7. In a saucepan, place the sugar, water and glucose syrup. insert a sugar thermometer into the solution.
8. Slowly heat up, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved (so you can no longer feel it crunching under the wooden spoon).
9. Crank up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil without stirring.
10. Continue boiling the sugar mixture until you reach the “hard-ball stage”, 121 – 131 degrees Celsius. The higher the final temperature, the less water in the sugar solution and the harder the nougat. Roughly 125 degrees Celsius should be perfect.
11. Remove from the heat and then pour the sugar solution slowly into the egg whites, whisking continuously using an electric whisk.
12. After all the sugar is whisked in; continue whisking for a couple of minutes. Pour the almonds and cherries into the hot mixture and mix well.
13. The nougat will become quite unmanageable as it cools, so quickly spoon it out onto the wafer paper in the baking tray and smooth out as best as you can.
14. Press down the final sheet of wafer paper and then set aside in a cool place and allow to set fully for about 3 – 4 hours.
15. Cut the nougat into the desired serving sizes and enjoy.