Oleana and Sofra Bakery and Café - Cambridge, MA
“This is the dessert I consider our signature,” said Maura Kilpatrick, the pastry chef at Oleana restaurant. “The flavors best match the rest of the menu. It has been on the menu for almost nine years. We change what we serve it with seasonally.” For a spice-themed dinner at the Beard House, Kilpatrick teamed up with Master Spice Blender Lior Lev Sercarz from La Boîte à Epices who added a touch of his Mishmish spice blend, a mix of crystallized honey, saffron, and lemon.
- 1 orange
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Mishmish spice from La Boîte à Epices (optional)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
To prepare the candied orange peel, peel the orange using a vegetable peeler, leaving behind the white pith. Cut the peel into 1/4-inch strips. Blanch the peel by placing the pieces into a small saucepan with enough water to cover them, then bring the water to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Drain. Repeat the blanching process three more times. This removes the bitterness and softens the peels. After the fourth time, put the peels, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in the pan. Bring this to low boil for about 5 minutes until syrup is sticky and peels are translucent. Remove the peel with a fork and place in single layer on wire rack to dry for several hours or overnight. When dry, dice into small pieces.
To prepare the pistachio praline, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a Silpat, or a light coating of butter. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup of water in saucepan. Heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until mixture turns golden caramel brown. Remove from heat and quickly stir in pistachios just to coat them in the caramel. Immediately pour onto prepared baking pan in a thin layer. Allow to cool completely and harden. Break into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Finely chop praline.
If using mishmish spice in the nougat, bring the cream to a boil and whisk in the mishmish spice. Pour into a bowl and chill overnight. Strain through a fine sieve.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, then set aside in the refrigerator.
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar, honey, and corn syrup in medium saucepan and place the pan on medium low heat. While sugar is cooking, start to whip the egg whites in a stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium speed until foamy, adding remaining 1/4 cup sugar slowly. Keep whipping until egg whites are smooth and shiny, but not stiff. You may need to reduce speed to keep whites this soft until sugar is ready. Once sugar reaches 250ºF on a candy thermometer, slowly pour syrup into whites with the mixer on low speed. Increase speed to medium and whip until mixture is cool and thick but still holds soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Fold in the chilled whipped cream in thirds until smooth. Fold in the candied orange peel, pistachio praline, chopped pistachios, and orange blossom water.
Put the nougat mixture into a 9 x 4-inch loaf pan or two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans lined with plastic wrap, or silicone molds, and freeze overnight. When it is frozen, take the nougat out of the molds or pan, remove the plastic, slice, and serve.