While in Cremona I had a taste of different brands of torrone. It was the “Torrone Festival”, so it was difficult to pass.
I found that there is a difference from one brand to another. It can be too sweet, or too ”lemony”, or not crunchy enough. Torrone should not stick to your teeth, but every bit should crack like glass.
I favored the classic torrone with almonds rather than the hazelnuts. Once a year I like to have some Torrone in the house. It puts me just right into the Xmas festivity mood, and reminds me of when my grandmother used to put it in our Xmas socks along with other goodies.
There is another famous brand worth mentioning; the Cologna Veneta Mandorlato.
Cologna Veneta (a small town near Verona), mandorlato is a specialty made with almonds, honey, egg whites. Very similar to the Cremona torrone, but characterized by an irregular surface. This one was more popular in my house back then because I grew up in Veneto. This torrone is still sold in round thin boxes, so it comes really fresh.
Making Torrone at home
Making Torrone at home is quite simple, it takes only time, patience, and a precision instrument such as the thermometer, to control the temperature of honey and sugar, which must not exceed a certain threshold, or else everything fails! Here is the recipe for the adventurous.
150 g hazelnuts
150 g almonds
150 g walnuts
150 g of water
240 g sugar
160 g honey
2 egg whites
1 vanilla pod
One thin pastry wafer foil to wrap
Step by step
First of all, put all the dried fruit in a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes at 150C (302 F).
In a saucepan add the sugar and water and stir before putting it on the stove. Heat the sugar syrup up to 141C (285.8°F).
In another saucepan put the honey with the vanilla pod and heat until the honey has reached the temperature of 121C (249.8°F ), then turn off.
With the electric whisk beat the egg whites and, immediately after, pour the honey and then the sugar over the egg whites. Mix well with a wooden spoon and finally add the dried fruit. Mix everything well.
At this point, line a square mold with baking paper and then place the cut-to-measure thin pastry wafers on the bottom. Pour over the the mixture, cover it with another thin wafer foil, and level to 1.5 cm thick (or about half an inch).
Place the mold in the fridge to for at least 10 hours, and feel quite proud of yourself at this point!