Daring Bakers-Heart-Shaped Nougatine with Caramel Semifreddo

This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel RouxAlthough I had planned on making the savory tuiles, the nougatine recipe fascinated me as I have never seen something that cooks up like a brittle, yet has to be rolled out like a pie crust, then cut with cookie cutters or rolled over a form. With Valentines Day coming up, heart shaped nougatine paired with an almond or caramel mousse popped into my head. My inspiration for the caramel semifreddo came from a recipe in the Gelato book, by Pamela Sheldon Johns, a cookbook author and culinary workshop teacher who lives in Tuscany.I made half the recipe for the nougatine which was ample. even then. Quick work is needed to cut out the shapes before the nougatine cools. I placed a warm towel underneath my pan which was easier for me than placing the pan in the warm oven. After cutting the shapes I needed, I broke the remaining, by then, brittle into large pieces to serve with ice cream and the leftover caramel sauce. The sliced almonds would be a better choice as the slivered ones are hard to cut through with the cookie cutters.Thanks to Karen of bakemyday and Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte for choosing this months challenge. Nougatine:From Michel Roux: Finest Desserts5.1/4 cups / 500 grams sliced almonds(or 4.1/3 cups/500 grams slivered almonds)3.1/3 cups / 660 grams sugar4 tbs / 60 grams butter (optional)2 tbs oil (vegetable, sunflower, peanut)Makes 2.3/4 lbs/1.2 kgs! (This is the yield of the recipe given in the book, feel free to downsize!)Preparation time: 25 minutesPreheat oven: 180C/350FSpread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned. Cook the sugar in a heavy based saucepan over low heat, stirring gently and continuously with a spatula, until it melts to a light golden caramel. Add the almonds and stir over low heat for 1 minute, then stir in the butter until completely absorbed. (This is not essential, but will give the nougat an added sheen) Pour the nougatine onto an oiled baking sheet.Shaping: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable. Work with one piece at a time, of a size appropriate to the shape you want. Roll out each piece on a warm, lightly oiled baking sheet or lightly oiled marbled surface. It is essential to work quickly, since the nougatine rapidly becomes brittle. Heat the nougatine in a microwave oven for a few seconds only to soften it if needed.Roll the nougatine into the appropriate thickness for your desired shape, but never thicker than 1/8 inch or 3 mm. Quickly cut out your chosen shapes using cookie cutters, or the blade or heel of a chef’s knife. To mold the nougatine, drape it very rapidly over the mold so that it follows the shape and contours. Leave until completely cold before removing from the mold.Or, cut out and using your fingers or a knife, push into folds or pleats… use as a basket, twirl round a knitting needle..Nougatine based shapes can be made two or three days in advance, Keep them in a very dry place and do not fill with something like a mousse more than 2 hours prior to serving.Caramel Semifreddo1/4 cup sugar1/2 cup water1 1/2 cups milk, scalded2 large eggs4 large egg yolks1/2 cup granulated sugar1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped1 cup crushed amaretti cookiesIn a medium saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until the mixture turns a rich caramel color. Stir in the hot milk and place in a hot water bath to keep warm.In a blender, beat the sugar and egg yolks together until very thick. With the blender running, add half of the hot caramel-milk mixture slowly so that the eggs don’t curdle. When the milk has been incorporated, add the remaining caramel. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and place it in a cold water bath. Stir 2 minutes to stop the cooking and cool the mixture. Chill thoroughly. When mixture has completely cooled, whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the custard mixture.Pour half of the mixture into a chilled eight-cup terrine or individual ramekins or small dessert glasses if you are not unmolding the terrine, but serving it like a mousse or pudding. Sprinkle with half of the crushed amaretti. Pour in the remaining mixture and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.To unmold, dip the pan briefly into a pan of warm water and loosen the edges with a sharp knife. Cover with the serving platter, invert and remove mold. Drizzle with caramel sauce, sprinkle with the remaining amaretti, and serve at once.Serves 10. Caramel sauce recipe from Simply Recipes.


  1. Anonymous
    January 29, 2009 / 5:16 pm

    Great post, you’ve just given me a great idea for Valentines day! I would like to invite you to visit Foodista.com – the cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit – to share this recipe and link your blog to foodista-related pages using our small embeddable widgets. Check it out here.. This is a great way for you to build blog traffic and connect with other food lovers! Also feel free to share your recipes and tips with us!Thanks!

  2. Tammy
    January 29, 2009 / 8:59 pm

    they look gorgeous and I love the sound of the caramel semi fredo!

  3. Dragon
    January 30, 2009 / 1:43 am

    Your nougatine hearts turned out wonderfully! Great job on this month’s challenge.

  4. Jenny
    January 30, 2009 / 4:55 am

    Lovely little hearts. 🙂

  5. ThePurpleFoodie
    January 30, 2009 / 10:44 am

    Love your heart shaped tuile – just too adorable!

  6. chef_d
    January 30, 2009 / 2:40 pm

    Oh nicely shaped nougatines!

  7. wildraz
    January 30, 2009 / 9:36 pm

    Oh these are adorable and look delicious!

  8. Anonymous
    February 1, 2009 / 3:05 pm

    Lynn: So cute, your hearts look great. Since I've made nougatine before, I knew that I liked it made only with slivered almonds – that allows it to be rolled thin & sheeted. Kudos on the challenge!

  9. mike
    February 1, 2009 / 7:10 pm

    I like a lot your blog,I don’t understand well all the passages because I don’t speak well the English…but i hope to come soon..mike

  10. Ethan
    February 2, 2009 / 4:54 am

    Your nougatine hearts look fantastic. I made the basic tuile recipe but these look great, I think I’ll give them a try.

  11. Sonia ~ Vintage Rose Designs
    February 9, 2009 / 5:09 pm

    Hi Bren, your blog is just a tease with all the yummy stuff. I’m a sucker for dark chocolate. Thank you for coming by my blog. It was a while back, but I have an addition to the family now so I’m staying busy. The chocolate cookies with vanilla bean looks delicious….Take careSonia

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