Monday, 24 December 2012

Edible Christmas 2012

I decided to do a present tombola this year for my family. Clearly, some home-made food presents simply had to feature. After much deliberation I went for:
  • chocolate dipped honeycomb - I've fancied having a go at making honeycomb for ages, simply because it just looks like fun;
  • nougat with white chocolate - I've always loved nougat (aka "nugget" or "noogar" for the posh) and  I was hoping the nut heavy recipe would be a treat for my Mum; and
  • lemon curd - I wanted to do some sort of preserve and I'd made it before
The honeycomb was was as fun to make as I expected (and also stupidly easy too). The dark chocolate added a luxurious present feel.

The nougat was a revelation. It tasted fantastic and had exactly the right texture. Thankfully the whole family agreed. I had slightly mis-underestimated the complexity and involved nature of the processes required but it was worthwhile.

Anyway, here are the recipes:

Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb (taken from James Martin's recipe)

7oz caster sugar
2fl oz clear honey
1 tbsp liquid glucose
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
8oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Line a baking tray with a non-stick covering like little oil and baking parchment or silicon paper
2. Place the sugar, honey, glucose and  water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 160°C (use a sugar thermometer).
3. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the bicarbonate of soda, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray.
4. Set aside until completely cool and then break into large pieces.
5. Melt the chocolate.Dip each piece of honeycomb into the melted chocolate and then place onto the lined tray. Leave for one hour until the chocolate is set and hard.

Nougat with White Chocolate (taken from The Complete Home Confectioner by Hilary Walden)

Rice paper - this makes life a whole lot easier, I made do without but it made things much more complicated
14oz caster sugar
6oz clear honey
2 egg whites
3oz white chocolate, melted
5 3/4oz almonds, toasted
5 3/4oz hazelnuts, toasted
3 1/4oz pistachio nuts

1. Line an 8" square tin with rice paper.
2. Gently heat the sugar and 100ml water until the sugar dissolves. Cover and bring to the boil.
3. Uncover and boil until the temperature reaches 150°C.
4. Meanwhile, melt the honey in a bain marie until it reaches 49°C.
5. Whisk the egg whites until very stiff.
6. Slowly pour the syrup on to the egg whites, whisking constantly.
7. Pour in the honey in a similar way, whisking constantly.
8. Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and whisk until the mixture is very thick and firm (this takes a long time!)
9. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and nuts.
10. Transfer to the tin, spread evenly and cover with rice paper.
11. Place a board/saucer on top and place heavy weight son top. Leave overnight.
12. Turn out the nougat, trim the rice paper and cut into squares.

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