I have a thing for soft Italian nougat.
I've inherited a few odd sweet tooth passions from my father: nougat, Turkish delight, marzipan, liquorice, candied ginger and preserved gauvas. None of which I can ever find in Nova Scotia. So, I've resorted to making my own of all them.
Remarkably, my tiny wild strawberries survived the usual onslaught of slugs this year. Beating them to it, I've been eating handfuls straight off the vines. A few I saved for this strawberry, honey, pistachio and rose nougat.
🍓🍓🍓 I dry my strawberries (using a dehydrator) to use in baking & confectionary, which locks in their flavor but gets rid of the moisture.
My honeybees, who have been waggling their way through the wild roses, generously supplied just the single cup of honey needed. 🍯🐝
It's quite simple to make: an Italian meringue with a hot honey syrup, the strawberry & nuts quickly folded in at the end. Sandwiched between rice paper. Allowed to cool & set overnight.
I'll cut off small pieces sparingly. Little cubes of gardening sustenance. And quite unconsciously, the red & white colors sit perfectly alongside Canada Day today. 🇨🇦
Confectioners rice/wafer paper (do not use rice paper used in Asian dishes, it is too thick)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup honey
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup freeze dried or dried strawberries
1. Line an 8 x10 inch baking tray with plastic wrap and place a sheet of rice paper on top. You may need to trim the rice paper to fit the tray.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat add the honey, sugar, and water and stir, brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush, until everything is dissolved.
3. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil, cooking the honey syrup until it reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer.
4. In a stand mixer, add the egg whites and salt and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually pour the hot honey mixture into the egg whites with the mixer still running. Add rose water & vanilla extract and continue to beat on high speed for about 5 minutes.
5. Fold in the nuts and strawberries.
6. Working quickly, spread the mixture into the prepared tray (the mixture will be very sticky and quite stiff). Smooth the top, cover the mixture with parchment paper and use a rolling pin. Top the nougat with another sheet of rice paper.
7. Allow to set overnight at room temperature and cut it into the desired size pieces using an oiled knife, the following day.