Make delicious nougat with pistachios and honey

Pistachio, a member of the cashew family, is a small tree that has its origins in Central Asia and the Middle East. The tree produces an edible seed that may be eaten as it is or roasted, after it is shelled. It is used in several dishes as a garnish and in the preparation of sweets.

Pistachios reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A (good for the eyes) and E (good for the skin). They fight inflammation, protect blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating pistachios may also help to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Pistachios are an incredibly rich source of vitamin B6 which is essential to make haemoglobin and also necessary for the nervous system. A healthy immune system also requires adequate intake of vitamin B6.

Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants.

Here is a simple recipe using pistachios:

Pistachio-Honey Torrone

Torrone or nougat is a confection made with pistachio, honey, sugar, and egg white, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain and Italy. There are also some varieties in Latin America and the Philippines. It is sometimes chocolate-coated and served as a sweet.

Ingredients:

Pistachios: 200 gm

Honey: 200 gm

Wafers: 100 gm

Icing Sugar: 75 gm

Corn starch: For sprinkling on surface

Egg whites: 3

Sugar: 100 gm

Method:

Piece together wafer, without overlapping, to fit the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and set aside. Liberally sprinkle a clean surface with corn starch. Pour egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey and granulated sugar. Place on medium heat; cook for 4 minutes until mixture just begins to simmer. Fix a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan; continue to heat, stirring occasionally.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until combined. When thermometer registers 315 degrees, remove honey mixture from heat. The temperature will next rise to 320 degrees. Stir until temperature drops to 300 degrees, for one to two minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour honey mixture into egg-white mixture. (At this point, whites will double in volume; let it stand for a few seconds; the volume will return to normal.) Beat until mixture thickens and begins to stick to the beaters; fold in the nuts.

Pour mixture onto a corn-starch-covered surface; knead for approximately 5 turns. Stretch and roll to fit pan; place mixture in pan. Cover with another layer of wafer; let it cool. Slice it while it is still warm; store in an airtight container with parchment between layers, for up to 2 weeks.

Executive Chef, The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway