When talking about the Italian Christmas table, you cannot avoid the torrone, the sweet that is actually in during the whole year, but during Christmas season even those who managed to resist it until now will have a few bites of it. Beware that tasting it causes addiction and it is a serious attack against your diet.
Most probably torrone was brought to the Mediterranian by the arabs, but Italian patriots like to tell that it was born originally in the Italian town of Cremona. You will find different versions of this sweet thorughout the Mediterranian countries, for instance the turrón in Spain.
Torrone can be made of walnuts, nuts, pistache, almonds mixed , this will vary according to the location: in Veneto and Puglia they prefer almonds, while in Piedmont hazelnut is the star and in Sicily pistache seems to be the ideal solution.
This candy is quite easy to prepare and it can be a perfect gourmet present for Christmas. This is how you should get it started:
Ingredients for 1 kg of torrone:
- 300 gramms of walnuts
- 230 gramms of sugar
- 130 gramms of peeled pistache (it can be replaced by nuts, eventually by pine nuts)
- 100 gramms of honey
- 50 gramms of peeled almonds
- 40 gramms of egg white
- wafer sheets
Pour egg whites in a dish , add a pinch of salt and whisk it until it forms soft peaks. Melt the sugar in 80 gramms of water, heat it up to 110 °C (temperature is crucial, do not even start without a thermometer). Pour the honey in another smaller bowl and boil it.
Now mix the egg white foam with the sugar and honey and stir it until you get a dense, shiny mixture. Heat the oven to 100°C, put the fruits in for about ten minutes. If you use pistace, cover it with aluminium foil to avoid it getting too stale. Then add the toasted fruits to your mixture.
Oil a baking dish, place the wafer sheets in it then pour the mixture, even it with a spatula. Let it cool and chill it in the fridge for a few hours.
Wow, you have just prepared home-made torrone!
What else you will find on Italian Christmas tables? Well, blanc-manger is one of these sweets, typically in Valle d’Aosta.
Diet can wait until January.