A soft nougat made of sugar, honey, egg whites, and toasted almonds or hazelnuts, torrone is a typical sweet enjoyed in Italy around the holidays. Its texture can vary from duro – crunchy and hard – to morbido – soft and chewy. Sometimes it is covered in chocolate or flavored with spices, too. Read on for our torrone recipe!
While the origins of torrone are uncertain, many believe this dolce was enjoyed in Italy as early as the Ancient Roman times, when honey and nuts were often served as dessert. The first documentation of torrone in Italy came from the city of Cremona in 1441, where it was served during a royal wedding ceremony. Nowadays, torrone is eaten during special occasions, especially Christmas time when it sold throughout Italy's many holiday markets and confectionaries.
500 grams raw almonds (or pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.)
500 grams sugar
50 grams light corn syrup
100 milliliters water
450 grams desired honey
3 egg whites
confectionary rice paper
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread out the almonds or desired nuts in a single layer on a sheet pan and place in the oven until they are slightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Butter the sides of an 8-inch by 12-inch baking tray and line the bottom with the confectionary rice paper. Put the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir, brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush, until everything is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil, cooking the mixture until it reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer. At the same time in a separate saucepan, heat the honey until it reaches 250°F.
In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. When the sugar and honey reach the desired temperatures, gradually pour the hot honey into the egg whites with the mixer still running. Repeat with the hot sugar syrup. Continue to beat on high speed the mixture for an additional 5 minutes, then fold in the roasted almonds.
Pour the hot mixture into the prepared tray and spread it into the corners (the mixture may be somewhat stiff at this point). To smooth the top, cover the mixture with parchment paper and use a rolling pin. Top the torrone with another sheet of rice paper or with chocolate, if desired. Allow the torrone to set overnight at room temperature and cut it into the desired size pieces the following day.