|Heating Nougat Mixture|
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Leon confituría, L. confectio, conficere (compound), Eng. confectionery. The art of blending fruits with honey or sugar to preserve foods. This includes comfits, electuaries, sugarplums, sweetmeats, sweeten medications, candies, syrups, pastes, jellies, jams, ices and sweet beverages.
In the Middle Ages, sugar or honey was dissolved with gum by heating. The item to be preserved was added, such as a seed or fruit of caraway, coriander, pistachio or almond. More layers of sweet syrup were added with varied amounts yeast or glucose depending on the degree of solidification desired: hard, creamy or soft. Once the honey or sugar had crystallized sufficiently, the product could be cut into pills or lozenges and stored until needed.
Today, special machinery and metals are used and specific temperatures are prescribed. In the Middle Ages, the process was homemade, made by professional bakers, small shop keepers or apothecaries. Beginning with the Plantagenet kings a confectionery department was maintained by the monarch to provide this food to the court as needed. See azúcar blanco, confituras en polvo, mazapán, semillas o granos en polvo. [Clair. 1964:60; ES: “Confectionery.” Jul 19, 02; and Groundes-Peace. 1971:102; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:110-117].
NOUGATS MADE WITH SUGAR ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS #162 RECETA DE LIGADO DE AZÚCAR, p 106
oil to grease pan
½ c powdered sugar
1 lb sugar
2 lb or 1 qt rosewater
12 egg whites
1/2 lb pistachios
1/2 lb peeled almonds
Prepare a baking pan 9”x9”x2” by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Smear it with oil. Sprinkle with a layer of confectionate sugar and set aside.
Dissolve sugar in two lbs rosewater in a heavy pan over moderate heat. When dissolved, strain it through a woolen cloth. Then return it to the heat and insert a candy thermometer stir occasionally until it reaches 285ºF/130ºC. Remove the thermometer and the pan from the heat to cool slightly.
Beat the whites of a dozen eggs to peaks. Roast nuts at 210º C for 5-10 minutes.
Keep the mixer containing the egg whites on high and drizzle the rosewater and sugar mixture slowly into the egg whites. Mix on high for 5 minutes. Return to heat until it turns white and looks like flour much. Add nuts. When thoroughly mixed pour into the baking pan and let sit 24 hours before cutting.