Dessert: Italian Christmas Nougat (Torrone)

posted by Nikki 12-18-101 11:10 AM

Italian Christmas Nougat (Torrone)

1 c honey
2 egg whites
1 c sugar
2 tb water
1 lb almonds, shelled and blanched
1/2 lb hazelnuts, shelled and lightly toasted
1 ts candied orange peel, minced
1/2 ts grated lemon rind

Place the honey in top of double boiler over boiling water for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until honey is caramelized. Stir the honey frequently. Beat egg whites until stiff. Slowly add to honey, mixing well. The mixture will be foamy white. Combine sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in small saucepan and let boil, without stirring, until caramelized. Add caramelized sugar to honey mixture a little at a time, mixing well. Cook mixture a little longer until it reaches the hard ball stage. (A small drop turns hard when placed in a cup of cold water.) Add nuts, candied orange peel and grated lemon rind. Mix well and quickly before it hardens.

Immediately pour mixture two inches deep into two or three (depending on size) loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove from pans and cut each slab into rectangular bars. You may make one cut lengthwise down the center forming two torrone rectangles or slice crosswise to make five or six smaller torrone bars.

Wrap each bar in aluminum foil or waxed paper and store at room temperature in an airtight container. It keeps for a long time if wrapped well.

To serve, cut the torrone bar into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thin slices. Serve with coffee or tea following a holiday meal.

Note: Traditional torrone is sandwiched between two pieces of ostia or thin sheets of unleavened
wheat bread. Ostia is often called "wafer." I've omitted this ingredient in the recipe, as it's hard-to-find. The torrone I made was fine without it. But, if you can find "wafer" or ostia at an Italian market, you may want to use it. In that case, you would place a sheet of wafer on the bottom of each loaf pan before pouring torrone mixture. Then top the torrone with another sheet of wafer.

Recipe adapted from The Talisman Italian Cook Book by Ada Boni. Buon Natale!

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