Persian Nougat (Gaz)

PersianNougat_Gaz9

What a beautiful season. So full of love and family and friends and food. And eating. I successfully stuffed myself with appetizers before Christmas Eve dinner, and there are exactly 2 boxes of chocolate, 2 trays of cookies, a loaf of Lithuanian nut bread, 2 pans of homemade sourdough cinnamon rolls, and an unlimited supply of hot chocolate in my family’s kitchen at this very moment. And those are just the sweets.

The holidays have been so wonderful for my entire family this year. I witnessed a proposal. My father’s proposal. To his beautiful wife (and my mother) of almost 34 years. A vow renewal is on the horizon and my heart is full and proud. I think it grew three sizes that day.

IMG_3842edit (2)

This recipe is a new-er tradition for me and also one of my favorite stories to tell. So gather ’round the fire kids, it’s story time.

When Alex and I began dating in the fall a handful of years ago, I was smitten and doe-eyed and ready to call him my significant otter. The problem, we weren’t quite official yet. Alex was about to journey home for the holidays, and I knew this was my moment to make a great first impression on his family even though I wouldn’t be there.

Enter the ultimate Christmas cookie tin complete with my entire arsenal of cookies. But I knew that wasn’t enough. I wanted to add a personal touch. Persian desserts I thought! This will be easy. Until I discovered only recipes in Farce.

After a bit of scouring I found what looked to be a tasty nougat with pistachios. Shout out to CIAO SAMIN for this recipe that made me look so good. Simple ingredients I thought. This will be easy (see a theme here?). The only thing I needed was rose water. 3 days, about 14 stores, and a countywide hunt later I finally found my prized bottle of rose water at a tiny locally-owned Mediterranean restaurant.

Long story short, gaz (it’s true name I learned) is one of Alex’s father’s favorite sweets. Who knew?! Needless to say I made a much bigger impression than intended and here we are 4 years later, making gaz with actual confidence.

PersianNougat_Gaz1

I would consider this recipe an intermediate one. As long as you can keep your eye on the sugar temp, pour slowly and avoid distractions you’ll be successful.

PersianNougat_Gaz2

If you have never used rose water before, it is such a unique ingredient. Possibly like the Persian equivalent of vanilla extract. Open the bottle and it is like breathing in a freshly cut bouquet of roses. While rose water can be overpowering, this recipe gives the nougat a beautiful and delicate hint of roses.

PersianNougat_Gaz3
Boiling sugar for candy recipes can be quite intimidating. This recipe requires a candy thermometer. No eyeballing here. Unless your eyeball has the un’candy’ ability to identify the heat stages of sugar.

My first tip is to spray the container you measure the corn syrup in with cooking spray to allow it to easily release for the container. Second, keep a pastry brush and small bowl of water next to the sugar pot. Use the pastry brush to dissolve any crystals around the edge of the pan. Finally, BE CARFUL! This stuff is the napalm of the candy world. I’m not against wearing safety glasses at home for sugar work. If you think a hot glue gun burn is bad…

PersianNougat_Gaz4
Be careful as you slowly pour the sugar into the egg white mixture. Keep the pot as close to the edge as possible because the whisk has a tendency to fling hot sugar around the bowl causing it to harden before it can be incorporated.

When is comes time to turn the nougat out onto your silpat (and please use a silpat) there will be hardened sugar around the edge of the bowl. There really is no avoiding that. Try not to scrape too hard here. You do not want those hardened pieces of sugar fraternizing with your soft, chewy nougat.

PersianNougat_Gaz5

PersianNougat_Gaz6

Best clean up advice for this recipe: Let it soak.

PersianNougat_Gaz7

The nougat will be malleable and get a bit tougher as it cools. I recommend using kitchen shears when the nougat is still slightly warm but not too sticky to cut your bite-sized pieces.

PersianNougat_Gaz8

PersianNougat_Gaz9

Your little Persian pieces of joy will remain sticky and especially like to stick to each other. Be sure to keep your pieces apart before wrapping them individually or toss in a little bit of cornstarch to prevent some of the sticking.

PersianNougat_Gaz10

PersianNougat_Gaz11

PersianNougat_Gaz12

Persian Nougat (Gaz)

Yield: Enough for Alex's Dad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (396 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (496 grams) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature (60 grams)
  • 3 and 1/2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (less if it's fresh)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup (184 grams) toasted pistachios

Instructions

  1. Place a silpat or silicon mat on a cutting board or large flat surface. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed to stiff peaks. Turn off the mixer.
  2. Using a large saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Stir until dissolved over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon using a pastry brush and water to dissolve sugar crystals on the side of the bowl. Be careful, it's hot! The sugar mixture will bubble up as it dissolves. Once this has occurred and you have a clear liquid, add your candy thermometer to the bowl. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches hard-ball stage (250°F).
  3. When the sugar syrup has reached 250°F, remove it from the heat immediately. Turn the mixer back on to a low-ish speed and slowly pour about a quarter of the syrup into the stiff egg whites.
  4. Continue to beat the egg whites until the mixture holds its shape. Turn off the mixer and place the remaining sugar mixture back on the stove. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until it reaches 300°F. Remove from heat (the sugar will begin to caramelize and change color if it gets hotter).
  5. Turn the mixer back on to a low-ish speed and slowly pour the remaining syrup into the egg white/sugar mixture keeping the bowl as close to the edge as possible to avoid flinging hot sugar all over the place. The mixture will begin to thicken and start to look like nougat.
  6. Slowly add the rose water and spices on low speed. Add in pistachios. Stir to combine.
  7. Scrape nougat out of the bowl an on to your prepared mat. If you do not have a silicon mat, grease the bottom and sides of a baking dish, line with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
  8. Smooth out the nougat to about an inch thickness. Let cool. While still slightly warm, use kitchen shears to cut 1-inch strips. Snip the strips into bite sized pieces.
  9. The pieces will stick together so keep them separated or toss in a little bit of cornstarch. Cut about 5x5 inch squares of wax paper (not parchment) and wrap each piece individually. Ship to Alex's dad.
http://www.neighborhoodbaker.com/persian-nougat/

2 comments

  1. What an amazing site. Love the step by step recipe. I really benefit from that kind of well thought step by step process. I also love the story and homey feel.
    Well done!

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *