daring bakers: nougatine
the daring bakers are back! kicking 2009 off in style, this month's challenge is brought to us by karen of bake my day and zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf. they have chosen tuiles from the chocolate book by angélique schmeink and nougatine and chocolate tuiles from michel roux. i decided to make michel roux’s nougatine.
nougatine sounds very simple – toasted almonds mixed with melted sugar that has caramelised. this is then poured onto an oiled baking sheet and you cut out shapes which you can then mould into something that looks pretty. obviously it’s not that simple!
well, getting as far as pouring the nougatine mix onto the baking sheet was simple. trying to work with it before it set and without burning my fingers was where things got tricky.
thankfully i’d decided that a crinkled effect, made using a cooling rack, was the shaping i wanted to attempt and thankfully this was achievable with only one burnt finger. which i actually got when i wrapped a strip of nougatine around a wooden spoon’s handle to create the ringlet that’s almost in focus on the left of my picture. my nougatine has been filled with morello cherries in cognac, fresh mint and extra thick cream.
the final verdict:
would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the daring bakers challenge? yes, david and i both love almonds so i’d have been intrigued to see what this was like.
would i try this recipe again in the future? yes, but i need to work out how to work with the nougatine mix without burning myself! i’d like to try the tuile recipes we were given as well.
nougatine from michel roux, finest desserts (makes 1.2 kgs*)
500 grams sliced almonds
660 grams sugar
60 grams butter (optional – i didn’t use this)
2 tablespoons flavourless oil (i used sunflower)
preheat the oven to 180c
spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned. cook the sugar in a heavy based saucepan over low heat, stirring gently and continuously with a spatula, until it melts to a light golden caramel. add the almonds and stir over low heat for 1 minute, then stir in the butter until completely absorbed. (this is not essential, but will give the nougat an added sheen) pour the nougatine onto an oiled baking sheet.
shaping: place a baking sheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. the warmth will keep the cookies malleable. work with one piece at a time, of a size appropriate to the shape you want. roll out each piece on a warm, lightly oiled baking sheet or lightly oiled marbled surface. it is essential to work quickly, since the nougatine rapidly becomes brittle. heat the nougatine in a microwave oven for a few seconds only to soften it if needed.
roll the nougatine into the appropriate thickness for your desired shape, but never thicker than 1/8 inch or 3 mm. quickly cut out your chosen shapes using cookie cutters, or the blade or heel of a chef’s knife. to mold the nougatine, drape it very rapidly over the mold so that it follows the shape and contours. leave until completely cold before removing from the mold.
or, cut out and using your fingers or a knife, push into folds or pleats... use as a basket, twirl round a knitting needle.
nougatine based shapes can be made two or three days in advance, keep them in a very dry place and do not fill with something like a mousse more than 2 hours prior to serving.
* i used 1/10 of the recipe’s quantity. this will make 6-8 small biscuits