Frozen Espresso Nougat with Pistachios & Bourbon

IMG_6179Frozen nougat is a lovely way to end a meal.  It is so light, and a half–cup serving is all that’s needed.  If the dinner has been a full one, it’s nice to serve something light and cool for dessert.  Remember that dessert is the last thing on your guests’ palates.  It needs to be memorable, in a good way!

I’ve served this many times over the years, but in a very simple version.  It was a bit of an epiphany for me to add in the espresso & bourbon, and switch the nuts to pistachio.  When I was making this batch, I was making enough for twenty.  After preparing the nuts (which I did the night before), it took me just over an hour to have all twenty covered and in the freezer, ready for a dinner in a couple of days’ time.

I served them with a tray of small mixed cookies, an easy but special finish to a great evening. 

Click here for printable version.

Makes 10 – 4 oz servings

Note: Nougats need at least a day in the freezer before serving; they can be made up to three days ahead.


2 T butter

1½ c raw, shelled pistachios

½ c honey

½ t cinnamon

¼ t cardamom

4 egg whites

big pinch cream of tartar

3 T honey

1⅓ c whipping cream

⅓ c icing sugar

¼ t cinnamon

¼ t cardamom

1 t instant espresso powder

1 t vanilla

2 T Bourbon 


Several hours (or the day before), prepare the honeyed pistachios.

Preheat the oven to 300°

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add in the honey, pistachios, cinnamon & cardamom.

Stir until the honey has melted, the nuts are coated and the mixture is bubbling.IMG_6136

Let simmer for 2 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pour the honey nut mixture onto the parchment.

Spread out until the nuts are in a single layer.IMG_6138

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

Let cool completely.

Break the mixture into clumps of 1-3 nuts apiece.  They’ll be a bit gooey.  Store covered in a parchment-lined container, until ready to use.  Can be done up to two days ahead of making the nougat.IMG_6148

Preparing the nougat:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, until soft peaks form.

Add in the 3 tablespoons of honey and continue beating until stiff peaks form.IMG_6146

Transfer the egg whites to a bowl large enough for folding the egg whites and whipped cream together.IMG_6147

Pour the whipping cream into the mixer bowl.

Whisk in the icing sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and espresso.  Beat until the cream mixture is thick and holds a firm peak.

Beat in the vanilla and bourbon, until just mixed.

Add ⅓ of the whipped cream to the egg whites.  Stir until combined. Fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Reserving enough pistachios to garnish with (I use about 7 per dessert), add the remainder to the cream & egg mixture. IMG_6149

Fold in.IMG_6150

Spoon the mixture in to small glasses or bowls.  These should be about 5 oz. so the nougat is not above the rim.

Garnish each dessert with the reserved pistachios.IMG_6152



Cover each dessert with plastic wrap, place in shallow tins or containers, and freeze.

To serve:

15 minutes before serving, take the nougats out of the freezer.

Drizzle each with a little honey, and serve.

Substitution: Pistachios are fairly expensive, and definitely the most expensive ingredient in this dessert, if you want to save a bit of money, use pecans instead.

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