Chocolate Nougat / Torrone

Chocolate Nougat / Torrone - Bruno Albouze - The Real Deal

Chocolate Nougat Recipe
Many legends exist around nougat’s origins. The word “nougat” comes from latin “nux gatum”, meaning nut pie (gâteau aux noix) and it came to western Europe from the old Byzantium during the era of the Roman Empire. There are three basic kinds of nougat. The first, and most popular, is white nougat (mandorlato or torrone in Italy, turrón in Spain), made with beaten egg whites, cooked honey and sugar base syrup; it appeared in Italy; early 15th century, in Alicante, Spain in the 16th century, and in Marseille and Montélimar, France, in the 18th century. The texture of the nougat may vary from soft to hard; the higher the temperature of the cooked sugar the harder the nougat. Nougat can also be finished in the oven to get a toasted color and thus, a firmer texture. This recipe bellow calls for medium-firm. Nougat de Montélimar must contain 30% of dry fruits such as almonds and pistachios. Nougat paste isn’t the same and requires only 15%. The quality of the nougat depends on dry fruits and honey percentage. Candied orange peels brings up the nougat to next level (nougat de Montélimar a l’orange). Other dried fruits can be added to such as apricot, cherry, raisins… and flavors as well such as lemon, anis, vanilla, ginger and chocolate. Nougat is an important component of Christmas celebration. However, there’s always an excuse to enjoy it all year long!

Makes a 13”x9”x1” (32x23x2.5cm) baking tray / 3.3 lb. (1500g). 22 each 4.5”x1” (11.25x2.5cm) bars or 66 ≈ 1.5”x1.5” (3.75cm) bite-size.
Use a 7 qt (7L) Heavy Duty Mixer.
3 ea. (90g) egg whites, room temp + 1/2 tsp (1g) cream of tartar or a few drops of lemon juice
Sugar syrup (to cook to 293ºF (145ºC)
0.9lb. (400g) sugar
0.6 cup (150g) water
7 ounces (200g) glucose or corn syrup.
Honey (to cook to 266ºF (130ºC)
1 cup (350g) honey.

8 ounces (250g) whole almonds
8 ounces (250g) whole hazelnuts
4 ounces (120g) pistachios, preferably skinless
1.2 lb (500g) gianduja (purchased online or homemade).

Wafer paper sheets / 0.3mm thickness (papier azime). Wafer paper holds best nougat’s shape in addition to better storage purpose.
Wafer paper can be found in most cake decorating bakeries or online at Inkedibles.
Or, mix 50% powdered sugar and corn or potato starch or use thinly crushed pistachios, hazelnuts, coconuts…

Toast nuts (toast pistachios separately) in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for about 12 min (shake tray half way through – do not toast them to much). Keep warm; doing so, it wont cool down the hot meringue to fast.

Gianduja for Confectionery (Firm Sweetened Hazelnut Spread)
7 ounces (150g) whole almonds
7 ounces (150g) whole hazelnuts*
8 ounces (200g) sugar
0.3 cup (70g) water.
*Praliné can be made 100% hazlenuts as well.

1) Old-Fashioned Method
Toast nuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for about 10 min. In a large saucepan or best copper bowl, cook sugar and water to (244ºF) 118ºC. Toss nuts in syrup and cook stirring constantly on medium high; it should crystalize coating thus each nut with sugar. Continue stirring and cooking until it caramelize; it should take 20 minutes. Transfer caramelized nuts onto a silicone baking mat to cool down.

2) Using Caramel a-sec- Method (caramel without water)
Toast nuts. Cook sugar only in a hot frying pan to caramel stage. Toss in warn nuts, turn heat off and transfer onto a silicone baking mat to cool.

Praline (Hazelnut Spread)
In a running food processor, blend caramelized nuts with a pinch of salt until it turns into paste.

Gianduja for Confectionery*
Tempering Chocolate
7 ounces (200g) milk chocolate or dark (couverture quality with high cocoa butter content)
Melt chocolate over water-bath to 105/113ºF (40/45ºC) – wipe off the bottom of the bowl when removing it from the heat. Place melted chocolate in the refrigerator and let cool down; stirring every so often until the temperature reaches 77ºF (25/26ºC); chocolate will begin to set on the sides of the bowl; scrap it out.. Carefully, rewarm chocolate to 84/86ºF (29/30ºC) for the milk chocolate and 86/88ºF (30/31ºC) for dark chocolate.
*For a stronger chocolate taste and color use dark chocolate in this recipe.

7 ounces (200g) tempered chocolate*
10 ounces (300g) praliné.
Combine tempered chocolate with the room temperature praliné.
*The chocolate should be tempered to create a lovely balanced taste, and a smooth, homogeneous texture for great mouthfeel. Gianduja should not be refrigerated but rather kept in cool and low humidity storage.

Have baking tray or mold ready before starting. Sides of the tray must be oiled (except silicone molds) and bottom covered with a glossy side down wafer paper sheet or some of the sifted sugar-starch mixture or covered with thinly crushed nuts. Avoid plastic wrap in direct contact with the hot nougat; it wont get off well.

Have the sugar syrup and honey ready in 2 separate saucepan and cook the sugar syrup first. Meanwhile, beat the room temp egg whites and cream of tartar on medium low speed; Keeping egg whites on foamy stage. When temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 220ºF (120ºC); it should take 15 min, lower the flame to low and begin cooking the honey on high. When honey reaches 266ºF (130ºC), the meringue is still in its foamy stage or near soft peaks – set mixer speed to high, and pour the hot honey on thin stream against the side of the bowl – continue beating on high. In the mean time, the temperature of the sugar syrup should be at 293ºF (145ºC)* “firm-ball stage”, pour syrup into the meringue lowering the speed to medium. This is where you are beating all the air and fluffy chewiness into the candy; continue to beat for 5 minutes more on medium high. Turn mixer off and switch the whisk for the paddle attachment. Add warm gianduja – Turn mixer back on and continue mixing for a minute. Add the warm nuts and mix to combine for a few seconds – do not over mix or nuts will break into pieces.

*If the required temperature of the sugar is ready too soon, reduce the heat and lower down its temperature by dropping a couple of teaspoons of cool water into the hot syrup – stay in control until it goes back up to the right temp.

Oil utencils and your finger tips as well. Transfer the sticky and still warm-hot nougat mixture in the prepared pan; go as fast as possible. It gets harder and harder as the mixture cools down. Shape into rectangle and top with another wafer paper (glossy side up) – use a rolling pin to smooth it out.
Let cool for a few hours. Nougat can be chilled as well. If chilled though, leave nougat out for 30 min or so before cutting, it should be quite firm but not rock hard. The pros use electric saw to cut out nougat into neat portions.

To unmold nougat, run an oiled spatula all over the edges and flip. Use a good serated knife to trim off edges. Divide nougat slab in half lengthwise and each half into 11 bars or bite-size. Nougat can be wrapped in clear caramel, chocolate and candy wrappers or wax paper.

Cleaning: Soak mixing bowl and utencils in boiling water and soap, let cool – wash and rinse or finish in the dishwasher but the knife.

Like most confectioneries, nougat is best stored between 57/61ºF (14/16ºC) and very low humidity for 3 months at least. Though, for household uses the refrigerator remains the best option during summer time and warm countries. Just leave nougat out for about 30 min or until it has soften enough to be enjoyed 😋

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