frozen nougat with cherry coulis

When it’s the middle of summer and the sun’s out shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature’s climbing, I don’t know about you, but I definitely start screaming for some ice cream! Before culinary school, I had no idea making homemade ice cream was so easy… all it takes is some quality ingredients, a great flavor combination, and of course, an ice cream maker, which unfortunately for me, was the one thing I was missing =/

But, of course, I wasn’t going to let an ice cream maker stop me from enjoying a tasty frozen treat… no way! After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and this way turned out to be deliciously divine. Instead of incorporating air into the cream while it’s being frozen (which is essentially what an ice cream maker does), why not whip the cream first and then freeze it? The French call it nougat glacé or frozen nougat, a dried fruit and nut confection, sweetened with honey, and very similar to an Italian semifreddo.

This one is made with almond nougatine (chopped up pieces of almond brittle), pistachios, and a mixture of chopped dried fruit, including cherries, apricots, and figs. The entire mixture is sweetened with honey and when you pair it with the tart cherry coulis, you get the absolute perfect balance… not too sweet, not too tart, just perfect ;) Enjoy this luscious dessert on a summer evening after an elegant dinner party or in the middle of the afternoon after an alfresco luncheon… really whenever you feel the need to cool down with something sweet! Frozen nougat is so easy to make and tastes so good that an ice cream maker just seems a bit superfluous now =P




PREP TIME 15 Min
COOK TIME 30 Min
READY IN 12 Hr
   
SERVINGS 8-10

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Nougatine:

2/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon butter

 

For the Meringue:

1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
2/3 cup dried Mediterranean fruit, including cherries, apricots, and figs, diced
1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Amaretto
2 cups cream

 

For the Coulis:

2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

 

EQUIPMENT:

9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan*
Parchment paper or plastic wrap
Lined baking sheet (See the Guide)
Large cutting board
Chef’s knife (See the Guide)
Paring knife
Sauté pan
Saucepans
Mixing bowls
High-heat spatula
Whisk
Stand mixer
Candy thermometer
Fine-mesh strainer or chinois

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Brush a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan with softened butter or cooking spray.* Line with parchment paper or plastic wrap, making sure to leave an overhang. Brush with another thin layer of softened butter or cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chopped pistachios in the bottom of the pan for decoration. Reserve in the freezer.

For the Nougatine:

  • In a sauté pan, heat sugar until lightly caramelized over moderate heat. Add the toasted sliced almonds and stir with a spatula. Add in butter for flavor. Stir to combine. Pour onto a lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, quickly spread nougatine into a thin layer and set aside to cool.
  • Once cool enough to handle, chop up nougatine into small pieces or coarsely grind in the food processor. Reserve in the fridge.

For the Meringue:

  • In a small mixing bowl, macerate the chopped dried fruit in Grand Marnier or Amaretto.
  • In a saucepan, heat honey over low heat.
  • In a separate saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and cook to a soft-ball stage, around 240°F.
  • Meanwhile, start beating the egg whites in the stand mixer bowl by hand with a whisk. Once foamy, transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and continue beating. Pour the cooked sugar syrup into the saucepan of warmed honey. Once the egg whites reach a soft peak, gradually pour in the sugar syrup and honey mixture in a slow, steady stream. (Be extra careful as the sugar will be extremely hot!) Beat until stiff and bowl is cool to the touch, around 10-15 minutes. Mix in the macerated dried fruit mixture and chopped pistachios.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks by hand with a whisk. Fold into the meringue mixture.
  • Remove the chilled nougatine from the fridge and delicate fold into the meringue mixture.

  • Ladle the meringue mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and fold over the overhanging parchment paper or plastic wrap. Let the nougat set in the freezer overnight. (Properly stored, frozen nougat can be kept up to 1 week in the freezer.)
  • To unmold the frozen nougat, unfold the overhand and lift up just slightly to release the frozen nougat from the mold. Set a serving platter over the loaf pan and invert the frozen nougat onto the platter. Peel away the parchment paper or plastic wrap and discard. Slice and serve with cherry coulis on the side.**

For the Cherry Coulis:

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the pitted cherries, sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pureé and strain the coulis through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois. Cool before serving.

  

NOTES:

  • Frozen nougat is traditionally made in the shape of a terrine and individually sliced, just like poundcake, but you can choose your mold of choice. If you’re planning on using a cake ring, simply line the bottom of the ring with plastic wrap and the edges with a strip of acetate film (used for wrapping cakes and desserts). Don’t forget to brush the insides with a thin layer of softened butter or cooking spray. You can also use individual-shaped molds the same way.
  • If you’re not in the mood to unmold and slice, you can simply use an ice cream scoop and scoop the frozen nougat into a bowl and drizzle some cherry coulis on top. It really doesn’t matter how you eat it… it’s just that good ;)

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