Nougat Making


Did you know that nougat is one of the traditional desserts of Spanish gastronomy?

Today the classification in soft and hard nougat has fallen short. Many sweets appear that claim to be, but ...

What is it that makes nougat, nougat? 

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Uncertain Origin

To understand the origin of nougat, we must go beyond the idea of ​​hard and soft nougat, we must contemplate its traditional ingredients: almonds and honey. And it is that these raw materials have been in contact with humans since ancient times. Both have attributes that make them less perishable, even in times when the hygiene and preservation processes that we have today were not available.

Nougat Making

The combination properties of nuts and honey are not a discovery of our century. Understanding this as a primitive form of nougat, historians find this recipe in different cultures, as a food resistant to time and hot and cold conditions, with great energy contribution, either for soldiers or sailors. A current of thought locates the origin of the sweet in Ancient Greece, where they attributed a nutritional value to a paste of almonds and honey, of great energy contribution for Olympic athletes.

On a cultural level, the gastronomy of North Africa embraces nuts and honey as primary foods. Proof of it is all the pastries that have been inherited from different cultures. This leads many to postulate that the origin of nougat is in the Arabian peninsula. The reference to the word "turun" from which the etymology would extract the Spanish word is found in writings.

Starting from Africa, there is a whole list of theories and stories that bring the nougat to the Mediterranean countries through the emirate of Al-Andalus and its cultural and commercial influence. This leads to popular opinion to attribute the creation of it to Italy or Spain. It is understandable, given the age with which civilizations have been in contact with ingredients and their mechanical elaboration, that it will originate at different points simultaneously. In Castuera (Badajoz) it is claimed that there has been a nougat tradition since Arab times, and there is even a nougat museum. We also find the story of the Barcelonian artisan with the surname "Turró" from whom the recipe that we know today could come from. There are also those who advocate the word "torrat" from Valencian as an etymological origin. In one way or another, when it comes to Spain, there are recipes and mentions of sweet in writings dating from the 15th century. It is not until a century later when it becomes one more product with which it is traded, already in the tablet format that we maintain today.

Although either by popular opinion, by credentials in records, by roots of Arab culture and commerce or by tradition; It is in eastern Spain, more specifically in the region of Jijona (Alicante) where there is an undeniable concern and inheritance of the original recipes and processes. Although we have seen with the industrial revolution the development of certain tools that make mass production possible, processing has been largely respected.

Also noteworthy is the implementation of sugar, not in the form of honey, unlike how it had historically been added. For this, industrial development in countries like Cuba greatly favored the production of quantities of nougat internationally. In fact, there were even factories of Jijonenco origin on the island.

Nougat Making

With the corresponding adaptations in the recipe that time, globalization and the optimization of resources that accompanies it; the way of making nougat has remained quite reliable. We will therefore distinguish between these two trunk branches, which are the Alicante nougat and the Jijona nougat, both of which have a designation of origin.

  • Hard Nougat. Also known as Alicante nougat. It has a first phase in which the honey is cooked in a mixer, where it is beaten and mixed with sugar and egg white. Then toasted almonds without skin are added, and the whole is stirred until it reaches the point of honey, after which it is spread on the molds. These covered with a wafer and are cut before cooling and packing. This is known as the longest-lived nougat given its composition.

  • Soft nougat. This is the so-called Jijona nougat, which presents a similar recipe that includes honey, sugar, egg white and marcona almonds, which have a higher proportion of oil and give the nougat a soft texture. The process after the malaxation and mixing has a phase of grinding and the use of refining machines. All this to disintegrate the mix. Later the "boixet" is used and the result is finally the nougat that rests for two days before being cut and packaged.


Nougat Making


Nougat Making

Royal Decree 1787/1982 approves the Technical-Sanitary Regulations for the production and sale of nougat and marzipan. It is here where the definitions provided by law for the production and marketing of nougat are recorded:

  • 2.1. Nougat.-Nougat is understood to be the mass obtained by cooking honey and sugars with or without egg white or albumin, with subsequent incorporation and kneading of toasted, peeled or skinned almonds. Honey may be totally or partially replaced by sugars in its different classes and derivatives.

  • 2.2. Various nougats.- For the purposes of this Regulation, the masses obtained by kneading, with or without cooking, of almonds that can be totally or partially replaced by any other dried fruit, peeled or with skin, raw or toasted, are considered diverse. , and other basic ingredients and ingredients indicated in point 6.3 with honey and / or sugars in their different classes and derivatives.
  • 2.3. Nougats with starches. - Starch nougat is understood to be those defined in points 2.1. and 2.2., to which food flours or starches have been incorporated in a maximum proportion of 15% of starch, expressed in dry matter.

Following these guidelines, we can see that new variations have appeared on the market in recent years that come to surprise those who have grown up with a traditional concept of nougat. Other nuts such as peanuts, candied fruits, liqueurs, coconut, cocoa, chocolate, food jellies and egg yolk, among others, are introduced into the ingredients. As a result, very specific flavor and texture nuances have been reached.

Flagged by the name of pralines are mousse nougat, yogurt nougat, rice pudding nougat, rice nougat, Catalan cream, custard nougat, cream nougat, rum nougat with raisins, coffee nougat, peanut nougat , chocolate nougat, egg yolk nougat and coconut nougat. The latter have found a niche and have adhered to the idea of ​​the Christmas basket. They are repeatedly in lots as a gift. However, of the aforementioned and many others, many do not exceed their launch campaign, but just as chocolate has been introduced into normality within the best-selling ranges of nougat, we can only wait to see how the production and sale of nougats evolves. these sweets and how they are welcomed by the demand.

An extended scale rates the quality of a nougat based on the percentage of almonds included in your recipe. Somehow safeguarding the emblem nougats that are Alicante and Jijona, preserving the value of tradition. But only time will tell us if this inclination towards other types of sweet will grow and if these will finally occupy the top of mind of the consumer.

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