The process of making nougat is actually very similar to marshmallows, but in this case you are taking your sugar syrup to a higher temperature.
When making marshmallows, we peaked at 118C whereas nougat goes up to 130C for a chewy nougat or 150C for a harder nougat.
I’ve done up the table below which summarises candy temperatures as well as some commonly used terminology:
- 103-113C = Thread
- 113-116C = Soft ball (will form a soft, sticky ball that can be flattened. Used for caramels, fudge, pralines, fondant)
- 118-121C = Firm ball (will form a firm but pliable, sticky ball that holds it shape briefly. Used for caramels, nougat, marshmallow, Italian meringue, toffee and gummies)
- 121-129C = Hard ball (will form a hard, sticky ball that holds its shape. Used for caramels, nougat, toffees)
- 132-143C = Soft crack (will form strands that are firm yet pliable. Used for butterscotch, firm nougat and taffy)
- 149-154C = Hard crack (will form threads that are stiff and break easily. Used for brittles, toffees, pulled/spin sugar, hard candy).
- 160-177C = Caramel (becomes transparent and will change colour ranging from light golden brown to dark amber. Used for pralines, brittles and nougatine).
The other major difference is the absence of gelatin.
I like the colour and flavour of pistachios, although other nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts are just as good. I also wanted to add an extra element so included a small proportion of dried cranberries.
Pistachio and dried cranberry nougat
2 cups caster sugar
1 ½ cup liquid glucose
1 tbsp honey
1 ½ cup pistacshio nuts
½ cup dried cranberries
Heat the sugar, liquid glucose and honey over a medium heat to 120C (using a candy thermometer).
In a mixer, start whisking the eggs whites.
Continue heating the syrup until 140C then remove from the heat and cool for a few seconds in a bath of cold water.
Pour into the whisking egg whites in a steady stream.
Add the nuts and cranberries and continue to whisk for three minutes until smooth and glossy.
Pour onto a silicon mat, then cool for approximately 4-6 hours.