Daily Archives: September 29, 2006

Food Network for 72 hours

Bill Buford, author of the must-read-book Heat, has a fantastic article in the New Yorker on the Food Network. Yes, the man watched the Food Network for 72 straight hours.

nougat montelimar

nougat montelimar recipe, originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

My husband and I love nougat–some of you have seen this presented as a petit four, and some of you have seen this as an individually wrapped candy in Persian stores. It also comes in large bars called “torrone” in Italy. Some of you think that nougat is that stuff inside a Snickers bar (that’s not really nougat).

From a distance, it looks like a white marshmallow dotted with pistachio nuts, but as you bite into one, you know it’s something wholly different: firm and chewy yet with a taste as light as air, sweet and fleeting on the tongue. Depending on the recipe, you may taste a hint of rosewater or bite into a candied cherry, too. It should taste sweet but not too sweet.

That, my friends, is NOT the kind of nougat I made the other night.

nougat cooling

As a believer in “learning from one’s mistakes,” I thought I’d share this experiment with you. Plus, I think it’s always entertaining to watch other people’s cooking mishaps–a good story is one in which something goes wrong (really, when was the last time you watched a soap opera where nothing ever went wrong?). So I hope you’re entertained (and don’t think I’m a total moron for screwing up nougat)!

I think I invented another kind of candy, a result of some hapless alchemy on my part. I was entranced by “The Cook’s Book” and its recipe for nougat montelimar, and made substitutions that I now regret. Instead of clear honey, I put in a brownish wildflower honey. I halved the recipe, too, not measuring the ingredients with much precision (did I add to much honey? I think I did). I added rosewater, because I like rosewater in my nougat (though to my benefit I substituted it for water).

The result: a very gooey, brownish goop that would not solidify, even when placed in the refrigerator overnight.
Its taste is not too off–the honey flavor is strong, but the concoction does resemble nougat…but it ends there. I will try again! I have to trust this recipe, as this cookbook is getting some rave reviews. Candy, like baking, is a precision sport.

(and Hallelujah! An Update on my nougat adventures: successful Persian nougat!)
Recipe follows…

Continue reading