Nougat de Tours is a tart with a sweet pastry base, topped with an almond meringue called a macaronade, and filled with candied fruit and apricot jam. It is a traditional recipe from the Touraine and there is a confrérie ('brotherhood') of professional bakers and pastry chefs dedicated to preserving the recipe and promoting it.
The original Renaissance era recipe used a mixture of candied citron (one of the ancestors of all modern citrus) and jam made from a now forgotten stone fruit called an alberge, which was somewhere between an apricot and a peach, with slightly fuzzy fruit with a pale yellow skin and red flushed yellowish white flesh, ripe in mid-August. Curiously, today's enthusiasts for this tart have opted for using peach or apricot jam plus tiny dice of multicoloured candied papaya, making something which for my taste is rather sickly. I would recommend using a mixture of either good quality candied peel, or a good tart marmalade combined with an equal quantity of either peach or apricot jam. Make sure your marmalade has a good quantity of peel because you want to be able to detect the peel by texture as well as taste, but not have it crunchy (the papaya is distinctly crunchy, which is just weird texturally in this tart).
The note on top is to prevent pantry trolls causing evaporation before I've made the tart.
150 g flour
25 g sugar
A pinch of salt
70 g butter
1 egg, beaten
150 g candied peel or marmalade
150 g peach or apricot jam
75 g almond meal
3 egg whites
75 g sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar
- Pastry -- cream butter, sugar and salt then add the egg. Mix in the flour until a dough ball forms, then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry and put in a 20 cm loose based sponge tin, without trimming. Put back in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Macaronade -- mix the sugar and almond meal together. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the almond meal and sugar.
- Filling -- spread the jam on the pastry base then distribute the peel evenly over the base.
- Pile the macaronade on top of the tart, using a spatula to spread it right to the edges and rough it up a bit to create attractive peaks.
- Sift icing sugar over the macaronade and let the tart sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Sift more icing sugar over the tart then bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool remove from the tin. Serves 6.
The peach and apricot jam I used came from Noz. Quite by coincidence I had been planning to make Nougat de Tours, so the perfect jam's appearance in the overstock and liquidations store was obviously Fate calling me.
Certain local aficionados of the Nougat de Tours use jam made from locally grown pêches de vigne, which I must say I think is very appropriate.