When I first learned about the Moroccan (and increasingly, Israeli) post-Passover holiday of Maimouna, I was most excited about the foods—between the traditional dried fruits, dates, and crepes with honey, Maimouna is clearly a festival for the sweet-toothed. I was particularly eager to try zaban (nougat), because, well, candy.
As it turns out, the zaban made at home for Maimouna isn’t like the confection in a Snickers bar. Recipes vary, but most are either a foamy, uncooked meringue, or a honey-flavored soft caramel. Both versions I’ve included are simple to prepare and are served decorated with nuts (almonds or walnuts are traditional), and eaten with a spoon.
Zaban Version 1:
¾ of a cup or 4 egg whites (you can use pasteurized egg whites)
3 Tbsp sugar
Dash of almond extract (optional)
Almonds or walnuts
Combine the egg whites, sugar, and almond extract in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed for about 8 minutes, or until the nougat looks like heavy whipped cream.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready to serve, add the nuts.