May 3, 2024

NOUGAT DE TOURS


A few weeks ago we went for lunch to a restaurant called Le George in Loches which has had a significant makeover since our last visit.  We were not disappointed and for dessert we had something called "nougat de Tours".  It's a traditional dish from our region of France and with similarities to the traditional dish from our region of the UK - the Bakewell tart.  It consists of a pastry case, filled with a layer of jam and candied fruits then topped with an almond mixture.  We both chose it for dessert and really enjoyed it so we started looking for recipes how to make one.



There are plenty of recipes on the internet but in the end I adapted one by my friend Susan which you can see here. I used strips of candied orange peel rather than marmalade and then went slightly off piste adding some chopped green and red glacé cherries as well.  Then I went even more off piste and slightly wrong.


To begin with I had chosen entirely the wrong baking dish, a round Pyrex one, simply because it was to hand and easier than trying to wrestle my loose based tart tin from the back of the cupboard.  Then, as I was spreading the almond topping over the tart there seemed to be barely enough to cover it and it wasn’t until the tart was in the oven and I started stacking the dishwasher that I spotted the third egg white in its little pot on the kitchen worktop!

(When cracking the eggs for a meringue I usually drop the white into a small pot or cup and add them individually to the bowl.  I've done this ever since the time that the fourth egg white for a pavlova contained a blob of unwanted yolk as I dropped it into the mixing bowl with the others!)


It was also the devil's own job to get slices of the tart out of the dish in one piece.  Definitely not the best looking tart I have ever made but tasted delicious so I  made a second one a couple of weeks later using the right tin and all three egg whites! 




Using a loose bottomed tart tin made the tart easy to turn out and the end result looked much neater.



That one turned out much better and will teach me not to be so lazy and to pay more attention to what I’m doing in future!  Mind you, both tarts were equally delicious!

It also occurred to me that mini versions, along the lines of the old Be-Ro tartlets, might work very well.  I shall have to try that when the opportunities presents itself.

This is the tart we had at Le George and the topping was, I think, more like a Bakewell almond sponge than macaroon, but it set us on a little culinary adventure and Nougat de Tours will be on the menu regularly from now on.

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Susan's post is worth reading because she explains the history of the tart including the use of local jams.  My jam was an apricot made from local trees by a friend that lives two miles away!  The jar of apricot is now all used up and the next one in line is her peach jam. Tah-dah!

Ingredients

1 pack of sweet pastry

A layer of apricot jam, around 150g

A layer of chopped candied peel and a few chopped glacé cherries, around 150g

75g ground almonds

75g caster sugar

3 egg whites

2 tblsp icing sugar

Method

Remove the pastry from the fridge 20-30 minutes before you want to use it, otherwise it might crack when you unroll it.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6.  Butter the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin. 

Unroll the pastry and use it to line the tart tin, leaving the edges untrimmed and draped over the edge of the tin.  

Spread a generous layer of jam over the pastry then scatter a generous layer of chopped peel over the top.

To make the topping, put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk until stiff.  In another bowl mix together the ground almonds and caster sugar then fold them carefully into the egg whites.

Spread the topping evenly over the fruit, making sure not to leave any gaps at the edges.  Sprinkle with icing sugar, leave for a few minutes then sprinkle again.

Stand the tart on a baking sheet (this removes the risk of accidentally pushing the loose bottom up on removing the tart from the oven) and bake for 30 minutes.  Cover with foil if it looks too brown after 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, remove the foil and cool in the tin.

When cool, carefully snap off the overhanging pastry and lift the tart onto a large can of food or small upturned bowl and ease the outer ring so that it drops down. You can then serve the tart from its metal base or transfer it to a flat serving plate by using a large cake lifter.

Cuts into 8-10 slices.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link to my recipe. Nougat de Tours has been calling me into the kitchen lately too. First, I found the right jam at Noz again, and second, Simon got served Nougat de Tours at the hospital after his colonoscopy! And it was the real deal, with a certificate and everything!!

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    1. Nick also had one of the little tarts when he was in the hospital and he mentioned the little certificate on the top! That's what gave me the idea for making mini versions. One day.......

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  2. sillygirlMay 03, 2024

    I had to laugh - you are my kind of cook! I have taken "short cuts" with new recipes (and old) and forgotten ingredients. One time I had to scoop out a filling because I left out an important ingredient. Sometimes we even come up with a completely new and better recipe - or maybe that is a pipe dream.

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    1. The tarte tatin was famously a "mistake"!

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  3. It is so reassuring to realise that there are disasters in other kitchens, not just mine!

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    1. They are a regular occurrence in this house, but fortunately most are still edible!

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  4. I haven't seen one of these in quite a while but I'm really craving that taste now. I'm very jealous that you have a friend who makes peach jam. Even my friend the beekeeper has now given up making honey.

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    1. Lots of friends make jam around here because they have fruit trees. We are blessed!

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