Whether it’s French Nougat de Montelimar, Italian Torrone or Middle Eastern Gaz, this chewy white candy with scents of orange, rose or vanilla is a delectable treat. This is my mom’s absolute favorite candy, but it’s definitely not cheap. I wanted to learn how to make it for her next visit and it’s been an epic sugar filled journey to come up with an easy recipe.
I started with a recipe for Gaz. It didn’t use rice paper like the French nougat or Italian Torrone recipes which appealed to me. But the recipe was HORRIBLE. I ended up with a brown, hard, overcooked sugary mess the first two times I made it (sugar mixture was too hot). The third time it whipped up beautifully and then didn’t set (sugar mixture wasn’t hot enough). The fourth time I got the consistency perfect and took an excited bite. It tasted like I was chewing on a glade air freshener. WAY TOO MUCH ROSEWATER! So back to the drawing board I went.
I experimented with glucose, corn syrup and honey as sweeteners. I boiled the candy to different temperatures and used various shaping methods (though I never bought that rice paper…) What I ended up with is a quick, relatively easy recipe. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work the first time – this recipe doesn’t take long, so just try again.
First, whip up one egg white and set it aside.
Then, in a medium sized saucepan, on medium heat, combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water (add rose water now if using). Stir until sugar dissolved and the mixture starts to boil. Now add your honey (you may substitute light corn syrup). Bring to a boil while stirring. Boil for one minute. Turn the heat down to low.
Take one tablespoon of the hot sugar mixture and add it to your whipped egg whites. This tempers the eggs (warms them up) so they don’t cook when you add them to the saucepan. Mix in the sugar until combined.
Add the egg whites to the saucepan. Increase heat to low-medium. (Add orange zest or vanilla now if desired) Using a hand held mixer, beat the mixture until thick and glossy (about 8 minutes).
Remove from heat and fold in nuts.
Let mixture cool for 15 minutes.
For the easiest method of shaping: Drop the candy, 1 tbsp at a time into a pile of flour. Yes, flour. No, not icing sugar. This is how the candy is made in the middle east and it’s way easier than using rice paper. You can’t taste the flour on the candy and this candy is very, VERY sticky without it.
Sprinkle flour over the top of the spoonful of candy and flip it around in the flour to ensure all sides are covered. Then roll the candy into a ball and place on a flat tray or container. The balls will flatten into discs. Refrigerate overnight to set and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
If you want a traditional rectangular shape here’s how I accomplished it.
I didn’t cool the mixture for 15 minutes. I immediately poured it into an 8X8, heavily floured pan. Using wet hands I pressed it down into a thin layer. I put this in the fridge for 30 minutes so it would partly set. After 30 minutes I cut around the edges with a knife to release the nougat from the pan and jelly rolled it.
Then place the jelly roll on a floured piece of parchment paper. Roll to flour all sides. Then roll the nougat in the paper, on the counter, to lengthen and compress it. Then I shaped four sides against the counter to make it square. You can brush off any excess flour.
Refrigerate overnight to set. If you cut the rectangle into smaller shapes, ensure you flour the cut sides. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Traditional combinations are:
corn syrup/glucose, rose water and pistachios (Middle Eastern Gaz)
honey, orange zest and almonds (Italian Torrone)
honey, vanilla, pistachios and almonds (French Nougat)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp rose water optional
- 1/4 cup honey/corn syrup
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp vanilla optional
- 1 tsp orange zest optional
- 1/2 cup nuts pistachios and/or almonds
Beat egg white until stiff
In a medium sized saucepan combine water (rose water if using) and sugar. On medium heat, stir constantly until sugar dissolved and mixture begins to boil
Add corn syrup or honey and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Turn heat down to low
Add one tbsp of hot sugar mixture to egg whites to temper them. Stir until mixed
Add egg whites to saucepan. Add vanilla or orange zest now if using
Turn heat to low-medium and beat with a hand mixer until glossy and thick. (about 8 minutes)
Remove from heat and fold in nuts
Either let rest for 15 minutes to cool OR pour into a well floured 8X8 pan. If in pan, place in fridge for 30 minutes to partly set
If not using pan, drop candy by the tablespoon into a small pile of flour. Flip the candy around until all sides covered with flour, then roll into a ball. Place ball in a flat bottomed container and refrigerate overnight
If using pan, remove from fridge after 30 minutes. Cut around edges to release the nougat from the pan. Roll into a jelly roll to remove from pan
Place jelly roll on well floured parchment paper. Roll to cover all sides in flour
Roll nougat, wrapped in the parchment paper into a long, thin roll, then shape into a rectangle. Refrigerate overnight to set
Store candy in floured container in fridge until ready to serve