Nougat is a confection made mainly with sugar, glucose syrup or honey based paste mixed with lightly-toasted nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or various other nuts.
In addition, chopped candied fruit may be added to nougat paste, as well as different flavouring ingredients, like spices and seeds or orange-flower water.
In picture above: white nougat made with honey and mixed with almonds.
The cooked nougat paste is spread in shallow moulds or tins lined with starch, icing sugar or rice paper to prevent sticking. A weight is placed on top and the nougat is left until cold and firm. The hardened nougat is then cut into slabs or other shapes.
Depending on the product, the consistency of nougat can be soft, chewy, brittle or hard.
In picture below: soft and smooth hazelnut and almond nougat (praline paste).
There are many types of nougat, varying in taste, consistency, form and colour, according to the ingredients used to prepare them. Various nougats may range from soft and chewy to hard and friable in consistency, with their colour ranging from milky white to brown and almost black.
- White nougat nougat blanc is cooked with sugar and honey, mixed with egg white. It can be soft and chewy or hard in consistency. Various nuts, most often almonds, are mixed in white nougat, but also candied fruit and other flavourings are used.
- Brown nougat or red or black nougat (nougat rouge, nougat noir) is made with caramelized sugar (and honey), mixed with nuts and/or other flavourings. It usually has a firm and brittle consistency and the colour may vary from light brown to almost black. Nougatine (see below) and praline
are types of hard brown nougat.
- Soft nut nougat usually known as praline paste differs greatly from traditional white and brown nougats (see above). It is usually made with finely ground nuts (almonds or hazelnuts or both), bound with sugar, cocoa butter and chocolate liquor into a smooth and soft, chocolate-like paste. Besides eaten plain, it can be used in baking and candy making, as a filling or spread in various confections, cakes and desserts.
See recipes for homemade white nougat with nuts nougat blanc, chocolate kugels and Wienernougat.
Made similarly to praline, nougatine is a pliable paste made with caramelized sugar and glucose syrup mixed with crushed or ground almonds or hazelnuts.
The hot paste is poured on an oiled surface and rolled into thin sheet. Before hardening, the sheet is cut into desired shapes or formed into various three-dimensional objects. These may be used as decorations or serving vessels for other sweets or desserts.