Nougat is the word that is used for describing the different traditional confectioneries of similar types, which generally incorporate honey and/or sugar and roasted nuts in their recipes. Usually the nuts used in the most traditional nougat recipe include hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts and almonds. In the recent years though, various new recipes of nougat have also been commonly using macadamia nuts and sometimes, chopped candied fruits too. The mouth-feel of nougat candies or bars generally varies from chewy and soft to crunchy and hard, depending on the ingredients used in making them. The nougat recipes are employed in making diverse range of chocolates and candy bars. Basically, nougats are of three types. White nougat is the first in the line and also the most common, which is made with honey and beaten eggs. Next comes, the brown nougat which has a firmer consistency and at times, a crunchy feel is made without egg whites and then, comes the third one which is the German nougat, also called the Viennese nougat, which is essentially a praline made of nut (generally hazelnut) and chocolate. The confection is believed to have originated in South Europe, where it is largely associated with the Christmas Holidays.
History of Nougat Recipe
The word “nougat” has been derived from Occitan pan nogat that means nut bread. The confection is believed to have originated in France, where an elderly woman used to make confections for children with almonds, sugar, egg whites and honey and the kids used to lovingly call her “Tante Manon, tu nous gates,” which according to many is the origin of the nougat recipe as well as its name. Many French people believe, the recipe was introduced when the almond trees were planted in the Montelimar area in 1650. However, nougat has been around in the Middle East around the time marzipan and other desserts of times were discovered.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Nougat Recipe
In a basic recipe of nougat, the ingredients needed are liquid glucose, powdered sugar, egg white, honey, water and peeled and toasted almond slices. Firstly, the honey, sugar, glucose and water are stirred together in a saucepan over low heat and then, brought out from the heat and poured it over the beaten egg white and whisked till it stiffens. The almonds are stirred into the mixture next, and the mixture is spread over a rice paper lined pan. Another layer of rice paper is covered over the nougat mixture and allowed to cool down. After that, the set nougat is cut into squares and stored in a sealed container, wrapped in waxed paper.
Popular Variations in Nougat Recipe
Turron or torró is a candy, which is quite similar to the traditional French nougat and is commonly eaten in Spain and in Italy’s Taurianova, Cremona and Sicily, where the candy is known to the people as torrone or the Sicilian nougat which is called cubbaita. In Greece, confections similar to nougat are called mandolato, whereas in Malta, it is more popular as qubbajd and is a most in demand during the village festivals.
The Spanish turron is made with egg whites, sugar, honey and toasted almonds. The Italian torrone on the other hand, uses the same basic ingredients with the addition citrus flavors or vanilla essence and is generally sandwiched between thin rice paper sheets.
The Venetian nougat produced in the town of Cologna Veneta in Venice, is made with sugar, almonds, honey and egg whites, but these confections taste different than usual nougats and is quite hard to bite. Australian nougats are similar to the Italian and French versions of the confection but contain only 50 percent almonds and include in their recipe, apricots, macadamia nuts and different texture modifiers.
In the United States and United Kingdom, nougat is generally used as a key ingredient in several candy bar recipes and is prepared in a quite different way from the traditional nougat recipe, as they include an aerated mixture of corn syrup and sucrose with a whipping agent like gelatin, hydrolyzed soya protein and egg white. Often, these nougat candies can include milk powder, vegetable fats, caramel, nuts and/or chocolate.
The Wiener nougat (Viennese) or Schmelz-Schokolade (German nougat) is of mellow consistency and essentially composed of molten chocolate or cocoa mass, almonds, cocoa butter and sugar. In Germany, the traditional name of gianduja is nougat.
Nougat is also eaten in Iran, where it is called “Gaz” and traditionally produced in Isfahan. This version can also sometimes contain the sweet extract of Tamarix root. Nogha is a special type of Gaz, deduced from the word “Nougat,” and is produced mainly in Turkish regions. This special Persian nougat is made of walnuts rather than almonds are pistachios which are used in making Gaz.
Nougat also happens to be eaten in Africa, where it is called nougat and the African nougat recipe variations include black baxtiti and white kurtzati, whose compositions are mainly fruits instead of nuts.
Health and Nutrition Facts of Nougat Recipes
Nougat is a food which is full with the nutrition of fruits and nuts used in it. This confection is also low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium content. However, a major portion of the calories in this recipe is contributed by the sugars.