- 2 cups sugar
- 12 ounces honey (by weight)
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup port
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Prepare a 9 X13- inch baking pan by lining it parchment paper or edible rice paper and lightly grease the sides of the pan with butter. Set aside.
Gather all of your ingredients and equipment so you can work quickly.
Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then using a wet pastry brush to wipe down the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Insert a candy thermometer.
Place the honey in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and insert a candy thermometer.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on low speed to start.
When the honey begins to reach 250º F, increase the speed of the mixer to medium high. Cook the honey to 252º F. With the mixer running, slowly pour the honey down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. The egg whites should be at a soft peak. Let the mixer keep running, and as soon as the sugar mixture reaches 300º F, slowly pour it into the bowl, using the same technique and the honey.
Continue to beat the egg whites for about 5 more minutes or until they hold their shape and form a thick ribbon whtn the whisk is removed from the bowl.
Combine the cherries and the port in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and gently plump the cherries.
Stop the mixer and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment. Add the cherries to bowl and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and add the nuts, vanilla and almond extracts and beat for 1 minute longer.
Quickly pour the nougat into the prepared pan and using an offset spatula sprayed with cooking spray, spread the nougat so the top is smooth.
If using edible rice paper, place a sheet of paper on top and gently press down to smooth the nougat evenly into the pan. Otherwise, dust the nougat with confectioners' sugar and place a second sheet of parchment paper over the top. Place a second 9X13 pan on top of the nougat and place a heavy object on top of it. Let stand for at least 4 hours.
When you are ready to cut the nougat, loosen the edges with a sharp knife. (You may want to run the blade of the knife under hot water so the nougat does not stick to it.) Turn the nougat out onto a cutting board. Cut the nougat into 1-inch squares or whatever shape you desire.
Nougat is ready to be served or can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.