Saturday, 13 October 2007

Here Comes the Bride

I'm getting married on Saturday. Next Saturday. 7 days away ! I've decided to make a special treat for our guests to have with their coffee and have been lovingly making a selection of candies. It's been a long time since I made confectionery and it's been great to dust off the sugar thermometer and make it earn its keep. While we were on our last jolly to Paris, Dearly Beloved and I visited the fabulous G Detout in the Rue Tiquetonne. This is a veritable treasure chest of ingredients for both the professional pastry chef and the ardent home patissier. It was great to buy stuff like succulent griotte cherries in kirsch, mimosa balls and candied fruits - the sort of delicacies you just can't find in the UK unless you're employed in the pastry field. Anway, and I promise I am getting to the point, one of my purchases was a big tub of succulent glace fruits so I decided to make some nougat for one of the candies.
I'm really very pleased with the result. The red is glace cherry, the orange candied french orange peel, the green is some luscious pistachios which I roasted lightly. If my pictures tempt you to have a bash at your own nougat (and it's really quite easy) please make sure that you have your tin well lined with rice paper and that you weight it down very sternly. Leave it for at least 24 hours to set up firmly (I left mine for about a week) before you try cutting it. It can get ugly in the cutting, as the nougat will be firm. After trial and error I discovered than a heavy chopping knife, dipped in boiling water after every cut, makes the cleanest cuts. Yummy !

My Wedding Nougat
20oz granulated sugar
10oz liquid glucose
4oz clear honey
2 large egg whites
4oz whole, roasted pistachios
2oz glacé cherries
2oz candied orange peel, chopped
1) Put the sugar, honey and glucose syrup together in a pan and bring to the boil. Wipe down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush - this will prevent them from caramelising and spoiling the syrup. Boil the syrup mixture to 140c/284f and take off the heat. Pour into a pyrex jug to prevent overcooking and to make the pouring process easier.
2) As your syrup is cooking, put your whites into a freestanding mixer such as a Kitchenaid and whip to a soft peak. When your sugar is ready, turn the whisk on low speed and pour it over the egg whites. Turn up the speed on the whisk and whisk until starting to cool and well doubled in volume. Fold in the pistachios, cherries and peel.
3) Decant into a an 18x28x2cm baking tray lined with rice paper - this can become quite a sticky task ! Lay rice paper over the top and weight down. Leave overnight to set up.