Spicy nougatine

Spicy nougatine

Paris Pastry Club
1 small slab
Helen Cathcart

I love nougatine so much that I might have dipped my finger in caramel when my great-grandma, Mémé, was making some, or that’s how the story goes.

She would toast almonds just until light golden and deeply aromatic, then mix them into a light amber caramel made creamy with a touch of butter. Of course, a fat pinch of fleur de sel was added. And the giant slab was left to cool down before being broken into bite-size pieces.

Nougatine will keep well for up to a fortnight in an airtight container. And please, don’t take after me – be super-careful with the hot caramel!


Quantity Ingredient
150g blanched almonds
100g water
120g caster sugar
100g liquid glucose
2 teaspoons sea salt
cayenne pepper
smoked paprika
crushed chilli pepper
20g butter, cubed


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the almonds in a single layer onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 15 minutes, giving them a good shake every now and then, until golden-brown and aromatic. Set aside while you get on with the caramel.
  2. Before you start, have two Silpats (or two large pieces of baking parchment) and a rolling pin ready on a flat work surface.
  3. Bring the water, sugar, glucose and salt to the boil in a large pan over high heat, stirring as you go. The syrup tends to boil over when it reaches 100°C so make sure you use a larger pan than you’d think.
  4. Cook the syrup until the temperature reaches 165°C or it is a light-amber colour, then add the spices and whisk in the butter, one cube at a time. When the butter has melted and is emulsified with the caramel, tip in the roasted almonds and stir quickly to coat them evenly.
  5. Pour the coated almonds onto one of the Silpats, cover with the other and roll so that the almonds are all in a single layer. Allow to cool completely, then gently lift off the top Silpat and break the nougatine into pieces, or roughly chop using a large knife.

Making a sugar syrup

  • When making a sugar syrup, I always put the water in the pan first to prevent the sugar from clumping together and possibly caramelising. glucose, which can be found in most supermarket baking aisles, prevents the sugar from crystallising and makes for an easier-to-work-with syrup. To scoop out glucose from a jar, just wet your hands with cold water and dig in. The water will stop the glucose sticking to your fingers, which trust me, is a good thing!
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