Rosewater nougat has the most alluring floral taste and scent. It’s a chewy confection with a delicious crunch from two types of nuts. The main nougat color is white, and, when cut, the beautiful green of pistachios and contrasting tan of macadamia nuts make them a feast for the eyes.
I love these things! My husband, on the other hand, is not as big of a fan, so when I was really dying for these recently, I made him cupcakes instead. But my craving has not ended, so I just had to make the nougat today. Of course, today is the worst day for making them: it’s been raining all day, and since we don’t have AC or other humidity controlling systems, they stay a bit too moist and sticky.
I got the original recipe for the rosewater nougat from the book “Sugar and Spice” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, and have only made a few changes to it, but I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes with making these because these are super sticky and can be a bit of a mess to make. So please try to follow my method as much as possible as you might have a hard time if you stray. The main changes I made were to the method, as well as cooking the second part to a higher temperature to make the nougat more firm and less sticky.
Making the nougat requires a few ingredients not found in most kitchens: edible rice paper, glucose, and rose water (duh!). The edible rice paper is a must since the nougat is immensely sticky before it sets. I found it on Amazon. Glucose can be substituted with corn syrup, I’ve read, but I have not tried it myself and cannot guarantee the result if you use it. You’ll also need a candy thermometer and a stand mixer such as Kitchenaid or other brand.
1 egg white
1 C / 200 g caster sugar (also called super fine or baking sugar)
1/4 C / 75 g runny honey
1 3/4 oz / 50 g / as-much-as-you-can-possibly-fit-on-a-table-spoon glucose
1/4 C / 50 ml water
2 tsp rose water
Generous 1 1/2 C / 250 g lightly toasted nuts (I use 50/50 pistachios and either macadamias or almonds)
Line the bottom and all sides of a mold or large loaf pan with rice paper–I use a 14″X4 1/2″ (35cmX11cm) tart pan.
Using a handmixer, whisk the egg white to stiff peaks in the stand mixer bowl–the stand mixer may not be able to handle such a small amount to whisk. Bring a large pot of water to boil with enough water to fully submerge a metal spatula–skip this step if you have instant hot water installed.
Place the sugar, honey, glucose, and water in a thick bottomed medium pot and stir until the sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer and boil without stirring until it reaches 257 degrees F / 125 degrees C. Pour 1/3 of the mixture as a steady stream into the egg white with the machine running on medium-low, making sure the mixture is not poured directly into the whisk. Leave the machine running.
Place the remaining mixture back on the heat and boil until it reaches 305 degrees F / 152 degrees C. Pour the remaining mixture into the egg white in a steady stream as before. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk for 8 minutes. Add the rose water and mix another minute. Stir the nuts in by hand using a very sturdy spatula such as wooden/bamboo.
Using a metal spatula, carefully place dollops into the prepared pan, using a second spatula or knife to scrape the first. Dip a metal spatula in the boiling water to heat it up (or hold under your instant hot water dispenser) and use it to press the nougat flat and spread the nougat out. Repeat dipping as necessary to prevent sticking. When flat, place additional rice paper on top and press lightly to further flattening; if you press too hard the rice paper may split.
Leave the nougat uncovered 4-6 hours to set. Store covered at room temperature. Cut into squares or bars. Tastes better on day two.