teeny tiny candy boxes
Aaron and I cooked a special Persian birthday dinner for some lovely folks last week. He helped with the dessert, which I'll talk about another time, but I was most excited about these little party favors.
I got the boxes, gold leaf, and Moroccan-ish candy cups from
, and we made
, a Persian pistachio nougat scented with cardamom and snuck in some candied tangerine peel.
originates from Isfahan, a city in central Iran, where there are still dozens of producers making the candy. Originally, it was made with with the juice of of a plant called
, a member of the
family associated with
, combined with pistachio, rosewater, egg whites and cardamom.
I got this recipe from
, and have made it a couple of times with great success. I have to say, for something made in Berkeley, it sure tastes a lot like Iran! But beware, it is a tad bit sticky! And if you go over by even a couple of degrees, it'll be tooth-breakingly hard.
: Persian Nougat
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites at room temperature
4 teaspoons rose water
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup toasted pistachios
Oil the bottom and sides of a baking pan, then line with parchment and generously oil the parchment. The nougat is sticky, so do whatever it takes to ensure that you'll be able to get it out of the pan later!
Beat the egg whites in the (very clean) bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches hard-ball stage (250°F).
When the sugar syrup has reached 250°F, remove it from the heat. Turn the mixer back on to a low-ish speed and slowly pour about a quarter of the syrup into the stiff egg whites.
Continue to beat the egg whites until the mixture holds its shape. Turn off the mixer.
Return the saucepan with the remaining syrup to the stove, and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches hard-crack stage (300°F).
Turn the mixer back on to a low-ish speed and pour in the remaining syrup slowly and continue beating until the mixture is thick and stiff.
Add the rose water and spices and mix together.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the nuts by hand. Stir until combined.
Spoon the nougat into the prepared pan and press and smooth it in evenly.
Keep the nougat in the refrigerator until it's set (about a few hours). Take it out of the mold and cut it into squares. Toss lightly in cornstarch to keep them from sticking to one another, then garnish with gold leaf if desired (not traditional, but very beautiful!).
Hope you love it!