Persian Gaz Nougat with Cranberries
One of the recipes I tested, is a mix of my all times favorite Persian pistachio nougat or "gaz-e pesteh" with cranberries. In Iran, nougat are common in most grocery stores, but the best quality nougat are from Esfehan (a city located 200 miles South of Tehran). These delicacies are soft, sticky, and chewy and incredibly delicious with chunks of pistachio or almonds and of course a scent of rose water. Like most Persian sweets they're best with tea and I tell you you can't stop at eating only one. In Iran, we don't make them with dried fruits, but I think the tart taste of cranberries makes a nice complement to the sweet nougat..so why not?
Every time I come back from Iran, I bring myself couple boxes of Persian gaz candies, but I go through them so quickly that I'm always hungry for more. I've been on the mission to make my own nougat for couple years, but every time I find myself intimidated by the process. It's like making macarons, you have to build up the courage to make them.
Now with mom by my side, I totally got brave and made my first batch. I have to say it was easier than I thought, but timing was everything. You have to prepare all ingredients and tools in advance, then start. There is only one thing I would do differently, make a thicker syrup, so the gaz would hold their form better. But overall I was pleased, even mom was pleased (and you know, mom is very hard to please when it comes to baking good quality pastries ) and as for Bill, well lets just say he loves Oreos.
Persian Gaz Nougats
Yield: 20-30 pieces Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Persian gaz nougats with cranberries are soft, chewy, and sweet with chunks of pistachios or almonds and a scent of rose water.
Here is what you need to get started:
A medium size pan with a wide opening
A bowl of water with a pastry brush
A baking tray lined with parchment paper OR a tray dusted with 2-3 cups of flour
A stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer, you have to get someone to help you)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups glucose
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 egg whites;aged and room temperature
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- 1 cup pistachio nuts (I didn’t have whole, so I used chunks,but using whole pistachios is much better)
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
1- Have the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer
2- Add sugar, honey,and glucose to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon
3-The sugar begins to melt and comes to a boil quickly
4-Use the pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan; this will eliminate crystallization. Use the thermometer to monitor the temperature of sugar; once the thermometer reaches 200°F, turn on the mixer and beat the egg whites to soft peak
7. Once syrup reaches 250°F, take the pan out of the heat, lower the speed of the mixer, and slowly pour about 1/4 of syrup into the egg whites and leave the mixer running on medium speed.
8-Return the rest of the syrup to the heat and let boil without stirring, just wash down the sides and check the temperature, when it reaches 300°F or when the bubbles are small, close together, and thick, the syrup is ready
9-Remove from the heat, lower the speed of the mixer, and pour the syrup into the egg white mixture.
10-By now you have a very thick batter that’s difficult to stir and hot to touch, add the nuts and cranberries mix to incorporate
11-Dust a baking tray with 2-3 cups of flour; take a full tablespoon of the batter, roll onto the flour, give it a round shape and place on the parchment paper. Repeat this for the rest of the batter.