Our gastronomy treasures a multitude of traditional Christmas sweets throughout all regions and towns, and entering to debate which one is better would be absurd. But we cannot deny that Alicante nougats are classics Unbeatable, with the Jijona nougat or “soft” perhaps the most popular of all.
Interestingly, with the same ingredients two products are obtained as different as hard and soft nougat, which can give rise to passionate debates in defense of one or the other. The former can put the most delicate dentures to the test, while the soft one also lends itself to many other recipes. Another advantage: Jijona’s nougat recipe is easy to recreate at home.
We can start from already ground almonds, although if we use fresh, first quality Marcona almonds, roasted by us at home, we will have a much tastier nougat. Homemade preparation allows us play with the proportion of ingredients -I try not to add too much sugar and give more prominence to honey, which provides better flavor and amalgam-, aromas and texture.
To give it shape, the simplest thing is to buy a specific mold, which I recommend choosing from a rigid material, so that it does not deform. We can also make a homemade one with a very clean milk brick, which also does not need to grease to unmold it easily later.
IBILI 753100 – INOX Nougat Mold
With these quantities, a good size nougat comes out. I have also done tests dividing the ingredients in half with a smaller mold, more recommended if there are few of us at home. This also allows us to test the consistency of the first time and to correct proportions to our liking: with more almond or more toasted, adding more or less cinnamon, etc.
Whether we start with whole or already ground almonds, in the first place We will toast them in a wide frying pan over medium heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes until they begin to brown and emit their characteristic aroma. Remove and let cool.
If we use the whole dried fruit we will have to grind them, preferably with a mincer, food processor or a very powerful glass blender. We can adjust texture to taste, more or less fine. Some more whole pieces provide a good contrast.
Put the honey with the sugar in a saucepan over the fire, heat on low power and cook until they are integrated into a semi-liquid mass and homogeneous, stirring gently. Remove from the fire.
Beat with a fork or whisk egg face until foamy and add it to the saucepan, stirring quickly. Return to the heat, at a very low temperature, and cook, stirring constantly until a thick cream is formed, preventing the white from curdling.
Remove and incorporate the almond, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and, if we use, the fine zest of 1/2 washed lemon, only the yellow part. Work the whole with energy until you have a fairly thick dough but malleable.
Bring to the mold pressing well, cover with plastic wrap or a sheet of parchment paper and put a weight on top (for example, a milk brick). Wait for it to temper and then chill in the fridge for at least six hours, or all night, with the weight on.
Almond cream puff pastry, the easiest dessert with almonds
With what to accompany the Jijona nougat
I do not think there is much need to suggest tasting tips, but I do recommend reserving the nougat or any sweet in small portions in the aftermath, replacing dessert on designated days, or in the afternoon with the family or guests. Combines very well with coffee and tea, the hot chocolate seems to me already excessive. Exquisite, yes, with a good sweet wine.
Although we use pasteurized egg white, it is recommended keep it in the fridge and consume it within a week. It can also be frozen or used to prepare other desserts, such as a fresh nougat biscuit.
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