Friday, April 10, 2009

Honey Nougat Ice Cream Provençal

Nougat is a confection that found its beginnings in a whole host of Mediterranean civilizations. Each version has its own special elements based on the agriculture of the area. In France, nougat blossomed in the late 18th century with the production of almonds in the city of Montélimar in Provence. The nougat you find there today gleams with the essential ingredients of the region.

This ice cream is based on the idea of the nougat of Provence. Honey is the predominant flavor, with back notes of orange and lavender and a bite of almonds and pistachios. For me, these are some of the quintessential flavors of early spring.

Bench notes:

- Use a good quality honey, but be sure it is mild enough to allow the subtlety of the other flavors to co-mingle.
- Since lavender is also a common ingredient in bath and beauty products, make sure you purchase lavender that has been grown specifically for cooking. It may be labeled "culinary lavender" or "food grade."
- I chilled the ice cream base overnight to let the flavors bloom and harmonize.

Honey Nougat Ice Cream Provençal

2 C cream
1/4 C honey
1 t lavender
5 yolks
2 T sugar
1 C milk
1 1/2 t orange flower water
zest of half an orange
1/4 C sliced almonds, lightly toasted
3 T pistachios, coarsely chopped

Bring the cream, honey and lavender to a simmer. Take off the heat, cover and steep for about 30 minutes or until it has the desired strength, tasting along the way.

Strain and reheat the cream to a simmer. Whisk together the yolks and sugar until thoroughly blended. Add a bit of the warm cream and whisk to temper the ingredients. Add the remaining cream and whisk. Return the mixture to the stove on medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the back of the spoon and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Strain the mixture immediately into the cup of milk. Add the orange flower water and orange zest and stir to combine. Cool. Put custard in an airtight container and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze according to your machine’s directions. Fold in the nuts, then pour the ice cream into a clean airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap into the surface of the ice cream, cover and place in your freezer to firm up a bit.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Oh, how I love nougat - great confection!! Never knew its rich history before!!

Meghan at Making Love In the Kitchen said...

If only my tummy could handle the cream. Do you think coconut cream or coconut milk could work in place?

anna said...

That sounds incredible!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

one of my favorites no doubt!

test it comm said...

That ice cream looks really good!

Dave Jones said...

yummy.....the ice cream looks so delicious...mouthwatering.

Helene said...

This post would have made my grandmother very happy. She was from Montelimar and we grew up eating our fair share of nougat!! Nougat glace is one of my favorites and specialties!! I am loving this!

Anonymouse said...

Oh, insanely good ... do you need a housekeeper? I could sleep in the corner and, um, clean up after you make things ... :)

pastry studio said...

Hello all and thank you for your comments!

Meghan, I don't think coconut milk would work. But I promise to post a good chocolate coconut milk ice cream soon.

Tartlette, how wonderful to have family from Montelimar!! I'd love to visit there someday.

Anonymouse, it's a deal!

Sara said...

This ice cream sounds great. The flavors seem very spring-y.

Dewi said...

This sounds extremely good, I like all of the ingredients. Definitely making this in summer.

Brownie Power said...

Thanks so much for this recipe. I made the ice cream this weekend for my parents, they loved it!!

valerié-jeanne said...

I recently found your blog... beautiful, rustic creations. I look forward to each new post!

pastry studio said...

Welcome valerie-jeanne and Brownie Power, thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed this recipe! One of the great joys of having a blog is knowing that others have successfully duplicated your efforts with positive results. Enjoy.

Dazy said...

I'm making this tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

Unknown said...

That was some delicious ice cream you've got there! When I buy creamed honey later, I want to recreate it into a new recipe by adding more sweetness to its taste.

Brooke said...

Wow, that might be the best looking ice cream I have ever seen. It sounds so divine, I must try it this summer.