French Nougat

2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

2 egg whites

4 tbsps soft butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts – I use pistachios and almonds, half and half

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a heavy 3 qt saucepan.  Cook, stirring over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn it up to medium, use a candy thermometer, and bring it to 250 degrees – do not stir during this time.

Just before the syrup reaches 250, beat the egg whites on a mixer till stiff but not dry.  I do this with my whisk attachment, then when dry, I take the whisk off and put the paddle on.  When the syrup reaches 250, pour in a slow steady stream 1/4 of it into the egg white mixture with the mixture running.  Continue beating the egg white mixture till it almost starts to hold its shape.  Meanwhile, continue cooking the sugar mixture over medium heat (do not use too high heat or you can scorch the mixture – this takes patience and time) until it reaches 300 degrees.  When it reaches 300, pour the syrup slowly into the egg white mixture, with the mixer running.  When the mixture begins to hold its shape, add the butter and the vanilla.  Continue beating until thick and satiny – this will not take long.  Stir in the nuts.

Immediately push out into a WELL BUTTERED 8″ square pan.  Press it in evenly with buttered fingers.  Let stand at least 2 hours or overnight.

Turn the nougat out onto a cutting board (you might have to coax it out with a butter knife).  Using a large sharp carving knife, cut into 1 x 1-1/2 inch pieces.  Wrap each piece in a small piece of plastic wrap.  Store in a tightly covered container in a cool dry place.

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Indian Pudding

2 cups milk

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1 large egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark molasses

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1 vanilla bean

Pour milk into a saucepan and add the ginger, cinnamon and vanilla.  Bring to a simmer but do not boil.

In a bowl combine the cornmeal and 1 cup water and mix well.  Add the egg and salt and mix well.

Strain the milk, removing the vanilla and any ginger pieces.  Pour milk back into the pan and add the cornmeal

mixture along with the molasses.

Cook over medium heat until thick but do not boil.

Pour into a well buttered 2 quart pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for abut 1 hours until mixture is set

Remove – serve warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

 

Chocolate Caramel Custard

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsps water

1 tbsps lemon juice

1 cup milk

2 oz semisweet choc

2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, water and juice.  Heat over medium while the mixture bubbles,

until it begins to turn a light amber brown.  Immediately divide among 4 ramekins and swirl to coat.

Works fast as this stuff hardens quickly.

In another saucepan, heat the milk and chocolate until the chocolate in melted.  Remove and cool slightly.

In a mixture, beat the eggs, the yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until thickened and smooth.  Pour

the chocolate mixture into the eggs – slowly to temper – and mix well.  Skim as much “foam” off the top of

the mixture as you can and then pour the mixture evenly into the cups.  Put into a baking dish and pour

boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until set.

Remove from oven and then remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly.

To unmold, run a knife around the sides and invert onto a plate – may be served warm or cold.

Mom’s Strawberry Pudding

10 oz frozen strawberries in syrup – drained – reserve both strawberries and syrup

Put the strawberries in a food processor and pulse 3-4 times

In a small saucepan, mix the syrup with 1 tbsps gelatin and heat 2-3 minutes until gelatin is dissolved

Add the syrup to the strawberries in the food processor and process 3-4 times

In a cold mixer bowl, put 1 cup heavy cream and beat till soft peaks

Fold the cream into the strawberry mixture.  Spoon in individual serving cups and refrigerate at least

2-3 hours until set.  Decorate as desired and enjoy!