Frozen Nougat

This is something that I made spur-of-the-moment for dinner, after working all day Saturday. I'd made the frozen nougat before, based on Johnny Iuzzini's recipe in his book Dessert Fourplay, for The Candy Bar. S. met me at my place, and initially, I'd planned on just making a salad since I'd found some really good Pear Vinaigrette at Trader Joe's while shopping with K after work. But then, I got to thinking that it would be nice to have something light and cool for dessert. Needless to say, I was very busy, making the nougat, piping it into flexi-molds, freezing them, throwing together a nice almond sponge cake and cutting honey oranges into supremes, all the while trying to think of a sauce. Oh yeah, and putting together a salad of mixed greens (I cheated), shaved fennel, pear, and my new dressing. It came together nicely, so today I finishing a plating and took photos. What would I change? I'd make a little loop out of pulled sugar and garnish the nougat with that, to give it some height. I'd also maybe arrange the segments in the divot of the savarin a little differently.

Note: I did not use cream of tartar and did just fine. You can also substitute the cranberries with any dried fruit, just make sure you cut it small enough and I used almonds and pecans since that's all I had.

Frozen Nougat

75 g shelled unsalted pistachios
25 g slivered almonds
100 g sugar
50 g dried cranberries
45 g chambord
3/4 tsp (3.3 g sheet) powdered gelatin
2 large egg whites
150 g honey-preferably cranberry honey
480 g heavy cream

Warm nuts in oven until hot but not toasted or browned.

Put sugar in saucepan and mix in enough water to make a wet sandy texture. Cook to 285ºF. Add hot nuts and stir until sugar turns white. Scrape out onto a Silpat and let cool completely. Reserve 2 TB for garnish. Break up remaining nuts and put in food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop.

Put dried cranberries in Chambord and heat to rehydrate. Drain well, reserving liqueur. Chop cranberries. Sprinkle gelatin over Chambord.

Whip egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar at medium speed.

Put honey in saucepan and heat to 250ºF.

Melt gelatin (I just put it into the same saucepan I cooked the honey in).

Whipped whites should be holding whip marks; pour honey in steady stream. Add gelatin. Turn to high and whip until bowl feels cool.

Whip cream to soft peak. The peak should easily fall back onto itself.

Fold egg whites into cream, then fold in chopped nuts and cranberries. Fill pastry bag and pipe into twelfe Flexipan savarin molds. Level off tops. Cover with parchment or plastic and freeze overnight. Alternatively, pour into 9 X 12-inch rimmed baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment and cut squares when ready to serve.

Almond Sponge
(Based on Hidemi Sugino's The Dessert Book)

100 g almond flour
100 g confectioners' sugar
80 g yolks
260 g whites
120 g sugar
90 g cake flour

Whip almond flour, confectioners' sugar, yolks, blus 60 g of whites to ribbon stage. Set aside while whipping whites.

Whip whites until foamy; add sugar in steady stream. Whip to medium-firm peak. (I like to take the whip out, gather some whites on the end and when holding it horizontally, the peak folds gently resembling a bird's beak).

Fold half of the sifted cake flour over the yolks and fold in. Fold in 1/3 of the whites; they will deflate. Fold in another 1/3, then the remaining flour, then whites. Gently spread into two 1/2 sheet pans lined with Silpat mats.

Bake 350º-400ºF for 6 minutes, turn, then bake until top springs back, about 4 minutes. The temperature difference is based on how your oven performs.

The orange sauce was something that came together magically. I say that because I didn't really measure anything. But, I'll give you the ingredient list and you can experiment to your desire!

Orange Sauce

2 honey oranges
vanilla paste
3 cardamom pods
juice of 1/3 medium-large lemon

Peel and cut orange into segments, reserving the juice. Pour into saucepan, add vanilla, a little honey drizzle (maybe 2 TB?), lemon juice, and cracked cardamom pods. Let reduce until thickened, but not too viscus. Let cool, toss in segments to coat.


TrinaD said…
This is something you "made spur-of-the-moment for dinner". The extent of my spur-of-the-moment effort involves going through the trouble of heating up an ice cream scoop in warm water. I am in awe.

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