Mu’aqqad/Nougat

Original: Recipe for Mu’aqqad (Nougat) of Sugar

Dissolve a ratl of sugar in two ratls of aromatic rosewater on a moderate fire, and when it is dissolved, strain it through a woolen cloth. Then return it to the fire and stir it gently until it is well cooked. Then remove it from the fire so that it cools slightly. Beat the whites of a dozen eggs in a dish until they give up their foam, and throw them on
the melted sugar. Return it to the fire and beat it with the confectionery cane [‘asab hulwâ: evidently a candymaking utensil] until it whitens and takes the consistency of ‘asîda (a starch mixture, probably similar to cream of wheat) and remove it from the fire and put in half a ratl of pistachios, if possible, and half a ratl of peeled almonds,
and serve it forth, God willing.
Source: An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry

Redaction

Note: as with many candy recipes, it’s best to do this on a dry, non-humid day!
2 eggs
2.5 c sugar
About ½ c honey
About 1 c water; mixed rosewater and regular to taste
1 c nuts (we used mixed almonds and pistachios)
Powdered sugar
  1. Line 9×9 pan with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Separate eggs and discard yolks; put whites aside and let come to room temperature.
  3. Mix sugar, honey, and rosewater in saucepan; stir to dissolve. (You can add more water if you can’t get the sugar to dissolve – much of the water is going to evaporate as you cook anyway.) Heat on low while stirring if you are having trouble dissolving the sugar.
  4. Once everything is dissolved, cook over medium-high heat without stirring to hard ball stage (approximately 260 F).
  5. When mixture is CLOSE to your desired temperature, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Drizzle about ¼ of sugar syrup over egg whites; continue to beat until rest of sugar syrup reaches hard ball stage; drizzle over egg whites while beating. Beat several minutes until mixture is REALLY stiff and sticky and glossy. Stir in nuts.
  6. Transfer candy to prepared pan; cover with more wax paper, smooth and weight top while cooling.
  7. Divided into bite-sized portions; dust hands with powdered sugar, roll mixture into balls, roll in powdered sugar.

Notes and Choices

We tried this recipe three times, decreasing the amount of egg white each time. Modern
chickens are carefully bred to lay really enormous eggs – using a dozen eggs got us a goopy mess!

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