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Lebanese Frozen Cherry Nougat With Caramelized Nuts and a Cherry Coulis Recipe
Although named nougat, this recipe is really truly quite unique, being something like a frozen mousse, a frozen souffle, ice cream - a combination of all three in a deliciously sweet, refreshing, and airy product, imbued with the flavor of cherries and caramelized nuts. Egg whites help make it into a large and light frozen dessert with their voluminous expansion, while heavy cream gives it a richness which shows through the grace, complementing each other. Combined with cherry juice and cherries which make it like cherry ice cream or sorbet, it is perfect for a summer day, especially when bedecked with the thick and rich cherry coulis.
This recipe is an adaption of that which I had found in the book Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood.
- 1 15 oz can of sweet cherries, (both cherries and the cherry juice in the can will be utilized)
- 6 egg whites
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract
- 1 lemon, (juice of)
- Line a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an appropriate overhang over the sides. This will enable the frozen nougat to be removed from it once finished.
- Line a baking tray with waxed paper. Melt over high heat 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan until it turns amber and is completely liquid. Add in the almonds and walnuts, and stir for 1 minute to completely coat them. Remove from heat, and pour the hot caramelized nuts onto the wax paper to cool, spreading into an even sheet. Once cool, break the caramel up to bit sized pieces.
- Whip the heavy cream until it begins to form soft peaks, then chill it while continuing.
- Whip with an electric mixer the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they begin to form soft peaks.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar, and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit, softball candy stage. This should form a syrup, and do not overheat it as it will be too thick. When it reaches this stage, remove it from heat, and pour it slowly into the egg whites while continuing to whip all with the electric mixer, and add in the almond extract (or vanilla). Continue to beat for 5 minutes, until it is thick and glossy.
- Fold in the whipped cream, 2/3ds of the cherries in the can and 1/2 of the juice, and the candied nuts, gently folding until all are combined. Then pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top : do not let it overflow, and if there is too much nougat, use other, smaller, pans to complement the principle one. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
- To make the cherry coulis (a thick cherry sauce), bring the remaining cherries, cherry juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup sugar, to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for around 8 minutes until the cherries begin to break down, then remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.
- Next, proceed to place into a blender and blend it until it is smooth, and strain into a bowl. Press on the solid material which is stuck on the sieve which it is strained through to get as much juice out of it as possible. Refrigerate until cool.
- When serving slice sections of the frozen nougat, place on a dessert plate, and pour some of the cherry coulis over it.