After hearing about this easy torrone recipe from Food52, especially as someone who has failed miserably before, I decided to give it a try for Christmas this year.
About 5 years ago was the last time I tried to make torrone and it just ended up a hot, sticky mess. I mean you couldn’t pick it up with your hands, it had no shape and the ingredients did not come together in a way that resembled that wonderfully chewy, melt in your mouth nougat with toasted almonds that we’ve come to love, especially around the holidays.
But now I can safely say that I’ve tasted torrone success!
The secret to making torrone at home?
Give yourself plenty of time. Time to stir the egg whites into the honey and basically let it do its thing. No candy thermometer needed. No special sugars. Just a wooden spoon, a hot water bath (bain maire) and a stirring time of about 75 minutes total in my case. Don’t worry, your patience will be rewarded. You will persevere. And with your other free hand, you can always have some wine to mark time.
Christmas Torrone Recipe
I doubled the recipe and this filled a 10″ x 10″ glass baking dish about an inch high all around.[list icon=”circle”]
- 1 lb. whole almonds (I used them unpeeled)
- 1 lb. local honey
- 4 egg whites
- Zest of two oranges or tangerines
You need to use a double boiler set on low, gentle heat. Luckily for me a bread kneading bowl fit nicely on top of my beer brewing kettle. The kneading bowl gives a nice wide surface to stir the ingredients in. The 30 quart aluminum brew kettle seemed to keep the hot water at a steady heat.
Melt the honey in your hot water bath and give it a stir. Roast up the almonds at 325º F for 10-15 minutes until they are shiny and making your kitchen smell wonderful. Don’t eat too many when you take them out though! Break out your mixer or if you’re feeling spunky, some elbow grease and whip up some stiff peaks from the eggs whites.
Fold the egg whites into the honey and incorporate fully. What starts as a caramel-colored mixture becomes paler in color and firms up a bit. This is after about 45 minutes of slow and gentle stirring. This is the time to mix in the almonds and the orange zest. Stir for about 30 minutes more and then add the mixture to a parchment-lined baking dish so the torrone can harden to shape and cool.
Using a long knife that is coated lightly in olive oil is the good way to cut the torrone into nice gift-sized pieces a few hours after the torrone has cooled fully.
Although these are gifts – we had to do a bunch of taste testing! Luckily there was still plenty left for wrapping.
So try these yourself sometime and see how easy it is to make your own Chrismas Torrone. Buon Natale!