Torrone (Classic Italian Nougat)

Torrone (Classic Italian Nougat)

Ingredients

  • – 1 cup mild honey such as clover or orange blossom
  • – 3 cups whole, unsalted, blanched almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or a mix of any or all 3
  • – 3/4 cup sugar
  • – 1/3 cup water
  • – 2 extra large egg whites
  • – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • – Zest of 1/2 small lemon
  • – Zest of 1/2 small orange
  • – 2 sheets edible wafer paper (optional)

Directions

  1. Add the honey to a double boiler and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add water to the bottom pan as necessary because it will evaporate over time. The honey is ready when you drop a small ball of it into a glass of water and it becomes very hard.
  2. While the honey is cooking, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Position one of the baking racks in the center of the oven. Spread the blanched nuts onto a baking sheet and place the pan on the center rack of the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes and then toss them and bake for another 8 – 10 minutes or until the nuts begin to lightly brown and are fragrant.
  3. Line a baking pan, jelly roll pan or casserole dish with one sheet of the wafer paper. Cut the paper to cover the bottom of the pan as necessary. If you are not using wafer paper, a lightly buttered sheet of parchment paper will also work to prevent the nougat from sticking to the pan.
  4. Approximately 15 minutes before the honey has finished cooking, prepare the egg whites. In a clean mixing bowl, add the egg whites and beat them until they form very hard peaks.
  5. When the honey has almost finished cooking, place the sugar and water into a separate pan and cook over medium heat until it begins to caramelize – approximately 6 – 8 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, the sugar mixture is ready when the temperature reaches “hard ball” or 255 degrees. If you do not have a candy thermometer, a small ball of the mix should turn very hard when dropped into a glass of water just like the cooked honey.
  6. Once the honey is ready lower the heat to low and gently begin to fold in the egg whites. When all of the egg whites have been added to the honey, mix well for another 5 minutes using an electric mixer on a low speed.
  7. After mixing, add the caramelized sugar to the mixture and mix again for another 5 minutes.
  8. Add the nuts, lemon zest, orange zest and vanilla to the pan and mix again for 2 – 3 minutes until the flavors and nuts are well distributed throughout the nougat.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the wafer paper, spreading it to cover the paper evenly.
  10. Top the mixture with the other sheet of wafer paper press it firmly onto the nougat.
  11. Let the nougat cool and set at least one hour (preferably overnight) prior to cutting and serving. If using parchment paper, remember to remove and discard the parchment prior to cutting and serving.

Notes

– To blanch the nuts, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add the nuts to the water and cook for 1 minute. Drain the nuts and then remove their papery skins and discard. They should easily pop out of their skins. The nuts are now ready to use in your favorite recipes.

– Store the nougat in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.

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