Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
The simple fact is that Torrone’s precise origin has been lost to time. One legend claims that Torrone (“big tower” in Italian) was invented for a medieval wedding in the Italian city of Cremona. However, this story does not preclude the more probable history of the confection, which some historians believe originated in ancient Greece or Rome and suggests a Sicilian introduction of Torrone into Europe, via the Arabs in the twelfth century. It is entirely possible that similar confections were invented during the same early period in China, Persia and the Mediterranean.
I usually make Torrone around Christmas or Easter. This is a fluffy white, delicious, orange and chocolate flavored Italian nougat candy. Rosa Giardinieri (Rosa’s Italian Restaurant) would always give a small box Torrone to each guest as they left her restaurant. She would always say it reminded her of communion in her church in Sicily. And, why not… eating Rosa’s homemade Torrone is a religious experience.
Don’t let reading this recipe intimidate you. It is amazingly easy to make—just a little time consuming. You can make this in many flavors, lemon, vanilla, orange to name but a few. Little squares of fluffy Torrone nougat candy is quite a treat and an old fashioned Italian tradition.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: About 24 pieces
Edible wafer paper (rice paper), enough for 2 layers in pan (see ChefSecret below)
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 large egg whites
1 cup honey
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup of Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon orange oil or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups toasted, shelled pistachios, hazelnut or almonds
- On the bottom of a 9 x13-inch baking pan place the wafer paper without overlapping the edges and set aside.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with cornstarch.
- Break the egg whites into bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture just begins to simmer, about 4 minutes to make the nougat.
- Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan; continue to heat, stirring occasionally.
- Beat whites until stiff peaks form; add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and beat until combined.
- When thermometer registers 315 degrees, remove nougat mixture from heat. Temperature will rise to about 320 degrees. Continue to stir until temperature drops to 300 degrees about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using a mixer with a paddle attachment running, slowly and carefully pour the hot nougat mixture into the egg-white mixture add orange oil (at this point, whites will double in volume; let stand a few seconds; volume will return to normal). Beat until mixture thickens. The nougat will begin to stick to beaters when nearly done.
- Fold in the nuts.
- Pour the mixture onto cornstarch-covered surface; knead about 5 turns.
- Stretch and roll to fit pan. When fully stretched place the mixture in pan. Cover with another layer of the wafer paper pressing down to get it to stick; let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- Cut into slices (1 x 1/2-inch pieces) wrap with parchment paper twisting the ends.
- Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Torrone can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
ChefSecret: Edible wafer paper (sometimes called rice paper) is available at baking-supply stores and online at Amazon.com. It can also be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, candy and cookies.
Torrone is best made in winter, when temperatures are cool and dry. If made on a warm, humid day, Torrone may be sticky and not set properly.