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I can’t imagine Christmas without nougat. It would be like waking up on December 25th and staring at a cold empty living room. When I was a kid, Dad went to great trouble to get Spanish nougat. He knew a Spanish man who would have a container load sent over from Spain for all the Spanish expats in Melbourne. Dad would load up his boot and deliver it to friends and family in Geelong. Sweet, soft, flavoured with honey and full of toasted almonds it is surprisingly easy to make but funnily enough most Spaniards don’t make it. When I go back to see my family in Cordoba at Christmas I visit my favourite pastry shop near the Roman ruins and buy an armful and give them to my family. I sit down with my Aunties and slowly eat each delicious morsel as I hear how well the cousins are doing in their businesses and how the nieces and nephews are doing at school.
Place ½ cup glucose syrup and ½ cup honey in a small heavy-based saucepan, stir over low heat until well combined, then cook until the temperature reaches 130C.
Meanwhile, place the sugar, remaining glucose syrup and 50ml water in another small heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then cook until the temperature reaches 170C.
While the syrups are cooking, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. As soon as the honey syrup reaches 130C, very slowly pour it into the eggwhites, beating continuously. When the other syrup reaches 170C, very slowly add it to the eggwhites and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled enough so that it is just hot but not hot enough to burn you.
Lightly grease a 15x25cm tray and line with rice paper.
Stir in the almonds and lemon zest, then pour the mixture into the prepared tray. Cover the top of the nougat with rice paper, cutting to fit and stand until cool, then cut into 12 pieces.
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