This day involves one recipe of filling, and one recipe for final assembly.
The next filling and recipe:
Recipe 5: Peanut Butter Nougat
This was, by far, the hardest part of the whole pie. Here I thought it sounded simple. Sugar and water brought to a soft ball stage, twice, and whipping egg whites, then folding some other stuff in. Well…after having to do the whole thing twice to learn from my mistakes–ack!
The recipe wanted me to heat the sugar while having the egg white whipped. This was definitely not ideal because sugar heats quickly and egg whites, well they remain like this for almost forever:
I even tried adding cream of tartar, but it still wouldn’t whip properly until I used my immersion blender (it has a whisk attachment). Then, it was great. Unfortunately, the sugar had basically caramelized, so it ended up creating shards of sugar instead of nougat.
What I learned so far:
- Whip the egg white almost fully before heating the sugar
- Stand mixers (at least this one) doesn’t work well with just one egg white, so a hand mixer is better
- It’s better to undercook the sugar slightly before adding it or you will just have whipped egg white with hard pieces of sugar
So, once you have your egg white whipped almost fully, you can work with the sugar. In a small saucepan, swirl 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1.5 Tablespoons water together. You will get this:
Then, you can have another sauce pan ready (or be like me and reuse the first one after the next step since it’s already warm) with 3 Tablespoons sugar and 1.5 Tablespoons water (swirl the same way).
You need to heat it until your thermometer says 115 degrees Celsius or about 239 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage).
Don’t cook it past because it will harden SO fast! Then, immediately pour it into your egg white that is still whipping away. You want to keep it moving so the sugar won’t harden. Bring the second sugar/water mixture to the same temp., and then add it as well.
After you’re done you have a basic nougat:
As you might be able to tell, I switched back and forth between using the stand whisk and my immersion blender whisk. The stand one is good for when I’m monitoring the sugar, and the immersion one for when I need it to beat extra quickly.
At some point during all this–I did it at the start, you should mix together the following:
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 3/4 to 1 cup Peanut Brittle from before (the recipe says use half of it, but I wanted a little extra crunch, so I used a full cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Which turns into:
Then, you fold the egg whites into the peanut brittle mixture.
Recipe 6: The Glaze and Assembly
Now, pull out the pie from before. The caramel layer has hardened so that it’s still tacky. It’s closer to the caramel you get in the really good candies, like these from Fran’s.
Time to spread the nougat on top! You should try to make it as even a layer as possible, but don’t worry–before you glaze it, you will still be able to smooth it out later.
Let it chill for an hour, and in the meantime, you can choose to do this next step. So here’s the deal. You’re supposed to bake pretzels until your kitchen smells “pretzely”. I never had that happen, and they didn’t seem any different after it. Feel free to leave this step out. If you want to do it anyway, then here you go: preheat the oven to 300 degrees and put some mini pretzels on a sheet. I used about 16. The recipe called for 8 . . . I wanted more than 8 big pieces of pie. Just bake for 20 minutes and you’re done.
After time has passed . . .
Mix white and regular chocolate together. I used a little extra semi-sweet chocolate because I was worried about the white chocolate making it too sweet. You want about 3 oz total, but I went overboard on chocolate (again!–hehe). Then, you add some flavorless (vegetable) oil–about 2 Tablespoons. Heat in the microwave until melted (whisk until smooth).
This was a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t get over how much it tasted like a candy bar coating! Oh, and for the record, I didn’t use the fancy schmancy grapeseed oil they said you need–just regular canola oil.
Now, I deviated slightly from their directions. I found it easier to pour some of the glaze on top, and use a pastry brush to spread it out evenly.
Now, all you have to do is arrange the pretzels on top and then glaze them as well. (Beware the food porn overload.)
Be sure to glaze the pretzels because it is supposed to keep them from getting soggy.
And then I added some of the extra chocolate crumbs on top for added texture and taste.
And here it is in sliced form: