Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Médaillons de Nougat
The Vin de Noix is coming along quite nicely, having taken on its peppery flavor that will soon mellow to a fortified smooth nut flavored wine. As I have mentioned before, it is a must when making home aperetif drinks that you taste along the way to make sure you understand the power of the fresh green walnuts of early summer and the spices, and their evolution to the final product. This year's batch will not be ready for straining and bottling for another month, but it already tastes very delicious and if I didn't know better, I'd strain and bottle it all immediately! But we know the possibilities, so we wait. This does not stop me from snagging a tablespoon or two for some peppery nut nougat!
This week I prepared a blanquette de veau, which called for an egg yolk enrichment of the sauce, and I had 2 egg whites leftover. Did my idea for a blanquette de veau come from my new candy thermometer, or did the idea for the candy come as an afterthought from the blanquette? I don't really know, since my conscious mind was indeed hankering after a blanquette without a thought to nougat, and only after the evening I served it, with the egg whites and sunny skies, did I break out the kitchen notebook to make some médaillons de nougat. Some dishes are reciprocal, blanquette and nougat for example. For les gourmands, that is.
This candy contains no fat. Cherish the thought! Make this candy only on a dry day.
Médaillons de Nougat
Makes about a pound, or 500g. of candy.
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup glucose or corn syrup
1 cup water
a pinch of sea salt
2 egg whites, room temperature
4 tablespoons of vin de noix at its peppery stage
1 cup ground nuts, any kind
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
Note: This candy uses the same method as divinity except that you don't beat the candy as long at the end so that as you dollop it onto waxed paper, it flattens out slighly into medallions.
Heat the sugar, water, salt, and glucose or corn syrup in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat until it reaches hard ball stage, or 260F. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry, and add the sugar in a thin stream while continuously beating until it has all been incorporated. Add the nut wine and the almonds, and continue to beat with the mixer at high speed. Incorporate coloring, if used. (I use the Moulinex for the beating process, and wipe out the steam from the inside of the lid several times). Beat until it is thick enough to hold it's shape.
Note on the food coloring: color makes a difference when you are making candy. Since I was using the peppery wine, I decided to add green, to make a play on peppermint, which is not there, but which comes to mind a little bit when you eat this candy. You wonder if there is peppermint in the candy and then realize there is not, and get lost in the nuts. It's a nice feature.
Dollop onto waxed paper by tablespoon with space between. Let harden overnight.