Nougat Glace evokes memories of special times spent with beautiful friends. Some years ago, my amazing husband decided I needed to get away, so whisked me off to France for a much needed ten day break and opportunity to be with my best friend, Véronique. Below is a little piece I wrote in my diary about our arrival…
As we pull into the Auxerre station I notice Véronique and Yannick waiting for us on the
platform and wave madly, Véronique notices me and as we go to step off the train they are waiting at our carriage door. We hug and kiss each other – it is so good to be together again.
In the car we chat all the way back to their home and our luggage is quickly stowed in their little gite where we will sleep during our stay, and quickly note the log fire burning in the living area. This is heaven.
Over at the main house we sit down to lunch, the first meal of what is going to be a four day gourmet feast! Our meal starts with Yannick’s walnut wine, a delicious tipple that I have now learnt to make. As sip on the aperitif, we continue to catch up and nibble on chips and pistachios. Entrée was then served – a terrine of foie gras with brioche, all made by my wonderful friend. Next on the menu was a main of braised veal with vegetables from their garden, which was followed by a selection of local cheeses and a basket of bread.. Finally for dessert, nougat glace, a delicious homemade icecream, served with raspberry coulis. I have to add that throughout the meal, Yannick produced an incredible array of wines, carefully selected to complement each course – what a wonderful welcome!
So what is Nougat Glace? It is a delicious creamy frozen mousse of Italian meringue and whipped cream, that has a selection of dried and/or glace fruits, and nuts carefully folded through. The nougat flavour is created by adding honey to the sugar syrup used when making the Italian meringue. Often made with praline, I prefer to make it with lightly roasted nuts, which cuts back the sweetness a little. It is generally served with a raspberry coulis and little sprigs of mint to garnish. If you want to impress at a dinner party, this is the way to go, everything is prepared ahead, all you need to do at the last minute is melt a little dark chocolate and plate it up!
As I mentioned, this is a very sweet ice cream, so we find that the tartness of fresh raspberries and a little drizzle of good quality 70% chocolate, helps to balance the sweetness a little. Of course you must use a beautiful honey in such a special treat, and our preferred honey is macadammia honey – just delicious!
A frozen mouse of meringue and cream with all the flavours of nougat. This delicious sweet treat is often served during the Christmas festivities in France. A perfect dessert for the summer.
- 3 egg whites
- 300 ml pure cream, very cold
- 3 tbsp honey
- 40 g sugar
- 40 g pistachio nuts
- 40 g blanched hazlenuts or almonds
- 40 g golden raisins
- 40 g dried cranberries
- 40 g dried blueberries
- 250 ml raspberry coulis
- 50 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
- 200 g fresh raspberries
- sprigs of mint to garnish
- Beat the egg whites until stiff.
- Meanwhile, place the sugar and the honey in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat slightly and continue to cook until the mixture has reached 117° C.
- With the mixer beating slowly, pour the honey syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites, then increase the speed and continue whipping until the mixture has cooled.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks.
- Cut the raisins and into pieces.
- Chop/crush hazelnuts and pistachios.
- Line a cake mould with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Gently fold the egg whites into whipped cream, and then gently fold through the fruit and nuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in the freezer for at least 12 hours, to freeze.
- To serve, turn out onto a flat cake plate, drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate and garnish with raspberry coulis, fresh berries and mint leaves.
- If you prefer, make a praline from the nuts as folows:
- Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.
- Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in saucepan and heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until mixture turns golden caramel brown.
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in the nuts just to coat them in the caramel.
- Immediately, pour the mixture in a thin layer onto the prepared baking tray.
- Allow to cool completely and harden.
- Break into one to two inch pieces, enclose in a clean tea towel and then crush using a rolling pin – be careful not to overdo it and turn it into a powder!
- To blanch hazelnuts:
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes, until the hazelnuts are aromatic, lightly roasted and the skins start to crack.
- Place the hazelnuts into a clean tea towel and gently rub together, to remove the skins.
- Spread the shelled hazelnuts, in a single layer, on a baking tray.
Until next time…