Torrone Sardo (Sardinian Nougat)

By • November 29, 2013 • 78 Comments

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Author Notes: There are two main ways to make this traditional Sardinian torrone. The first is to place the honey and unbeaten (or lightly beaten) egg whites in a pan then gently heat while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon for 45 minutes. Nuts are then added and mixed for a further 30 minutes. The second way – the way I've done it – is to whisk the whites to peaks and add it to honey melted in a bainmarie before carrying on with the same procedure and stirring, adding nuts, stirring.

It's a simple, even relaxing recipe. No watching of thermometers, no scalding syrup or defining moments. Just a gentle heat and slow, continuous stirring. Put on some good music, or better yet, have some good company in the kitchen with you so you can share the stirring and you're halfway there.

The most traditional recipe uses just almonds and Sardinian honey, which is gathered from the Mediterranean scrub that surrounds the island. Try a small portion of pistachio, pine nuts or hazelnuts too. Try dried figs or other dried fruit in it too, just be mindful of the proportions. You can peel your almonds, but I like the contrast of the skins on, either way, an even toasting in the oven is a must to bring out the flavour. If you wanted to add some further aromatics to the batch, try some grated fresh orange or lemon peel or a freshly scraped vanilla bean pod. Typically, it's set between two special wafers known as ostia in Italian. If you can't get these easily, line your pan with parchment as described below. The result is a soft, chewy nougat - a torrone morbido.
Emiko

Serves 10

  • 1/2 pound nuts, such as whole almonds
  • 1/2 pound honey
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Prepare a small square or rectangular baking dish with a layer of ostia (traditional wafer) cut to size or two layers of parchment cut to size, one long piece covering the dish vertically, another long piece covering it horizontally, so that the sides of the dish will be covered and you can fold the parchment over the top of the torrone while it is setting.
  2. For the nuts, it's traditional to use 100% whole peeled almonds, but you can leave them unpeeled or do a mix, substituting a portion of almonds for other nuts or even dried fruit such as figs. Place the nuts on a single layer in a baking tray and toast in oven at 325º F, about 10-15 minutes or until shiny and fragrant. Set aside.
  3. Place honey in a large bowl over a saucepan of water (bain marie) on the lowest heat. Make sure the bowl is not touching the water. Heat honey until it melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  4. In the meantime, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Add the whites to the bowl of honey, stirring with the wooden spoon to incorporate. It should turn into a caramel-coloured cream. Keep cooking, stirring slowly but continuously over gentle heat for 45 minutes. The mixture should thicken and become pale. A small test should determine that your torrone is at a good stage – a drop of the mixture in a glass of water should solidify into a soft ball, not dissolve immediately.
  5. Add the nuts to the mixture and continue cooking and stirring for 30 minutes. Pour into your prepared baking tin. Fold over the parchment to cover the top and smooth it down, pressing the torrone gently with your hands. If using the more traditional ostia, place another layer of ostia cut to size on top and press gently but firmly. Place in a cool place to set for a couple of hours.
  6. When set, cut the torrone into thick slices with a sharp, heavy knife (a little olive oil wiped onto the knife helps). Wrap in parchment or cellophane and tie with pretty string or ribbon for the perfect homemade holiday gift. Keeps very well wrapped in parchment or cellophane and stored somewhere cool.
Jump to Comments (78)

Comments (78) Questions (1)

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about 15 hours ago Betty McPettypants

This came out so nicely! I used Turkish honey which gave it a beautiful caramel color. Almonds and dried cranberries with a dash of almond extract and some lemon zest.

Stringio

2 days ago Linda Michaluk

just tried my first slice...pretty good...not like the picture but as I substituted a mix of dried sour cherries and pistachios (did by weight with total at 8 oz), that's to be expected. Used a silicon loaf pan lined with the edible paper. I have another recipe that I like so may have to give it a try to compare side by side...

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3 days ago karamou

Just made the recipe: great smell, exact timing and proportions, just perfect! Can't wait to try it and share it as christmas present! Thanks a lot for the recipe

Stringio

3 days ago cookdoctor

Definitely going to try it!

Stringio

3 days ago Linda Michaluk

given the 6x6 seems large from the comment below, can you provide any info on the preferred size of pan? A bread loaf pan perhaps?

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4 days ago Liz

The cooking for 30 more minutes after adding the nuts feels a bit long to me. 15 minutes in all airiness was gone and it became very thick. Could barely fill the bottom of my 6x6 pan with a thin layer. What should it look like when it comes off the heat?

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14 days ago Susan Maria

This was easy and turned our perfectly when recipe followed as described. the comments and questions blow my mind. Pop.

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about 1 month ago Paige

Hi, I was just wondering if this was soft or hard nougat?

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about 1 month ago Emiko

Hi! It's described in the Author notes above - this makes a soft, chewy nougat (torrone morbido).

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3 months ago Maggie

I love this, but mine was waaaaay to sweet, reading through the comments, did anyone work out whether the amount of honey was volumetric or weight based? If I just add less honey, will it still work?

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3 months ago Emiko

The amount of honey required is based on weight (1/2 pound or 225 grams) and should equal the same weight as the nuts. You could try using different types of honey and finding one that you prefer the taste of! This is traditionally done with a wildflower or herb honey.

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3 months ago Maggie

Thank you, I did, I went a bit overboard with three more batches (one with Brazils which was lovely as well), and found clover honey is a bit nicer :) The only other issue is longevity; they all set beautifully, but two days later they're getting a bit sticky/slimy, and the rice papers I've been using to stop sticky fingers are sliding off...is there a way to prevent this?

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3 months ago Maggie

By the way, thanks for answering our questions almost a year after you've written the article!

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3 months ago Emiko

It sounds like it's not being cooked long enough - the soft ball test is a good one to be sure that it's set enough. Also perhaps try storing somewhere cool, even in the fridge. Hope that helps!

Stringio

4 months ago Megan Elizabeth Degwel Prothero

just finished my first attempt, had a slight issue with separation to begin with but a 10min blitz with an electronic whisk got me nicely on my way. mix tasted great, it's gonna be a little thin because i didn't have the right tray for it but all in all quite pleased with myself :)

Stringio

4 months ago Megan Elizabeth Degwel Prothero

turned out really well but will probably use fewer nuts in future. have been asked to make some with dried cherries instead of nuts for my boss, will let you know how it turns out. it's nice to have found something sweet she can enjoy, she has M.E. and due to extensive food intolerances has a very limited diet. thank you so much for such a simple yet wonderful recipe :)

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7 months ago RW

how long does this keep? Wouldn't it be lovely in a care package.

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11 months ago Amit

Seems interesting!
Can you please tell me if I can use white sugar instead or honey? and at what proportion?
will the process stays same?
Somehow I dont like taste of Honey.

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11 months ago Emiko

You could do a traditional nougat or other Italian torrone, which are usually made with a mixture of honey and sugar. It's a similar process but you may want to look for another recipe. Sardinian torrone is unique in that it only calls for honey. Surprisingly, this torrone doesn't taste of honey though - a delicate honey should be used rather than one with a strong taste (generally speaking a lighter toned honey is the way to go!).

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11 months ago MarenM

My torrone never firmed up! It's stayed incredibly sticky - had to peel off the parchment paper bit by bit. No idea what I did wrong! Any advice??

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11 months ago Emiko

It wasn't cooked long enough - you can try putting it back on the heat again and cook longer (another reader below had success doing this!). Check for doneness by the soft ball method - a drop of the hot mixture in a glass of cold water should firm up into a soft ball and not dissolve.

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about 1 year ago adamx97

I think once the nuts were added and it became dense it was already thick. I used 8oz honey by weight, should I have used 1cup, that is, 8oz by volume

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about 1 year ago adamx97

carrie, i had the same experience on 3 occasions: the nuts deflated it and the nougat lost its airiness.

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about 1 year ago carrie

I tried making tonight and all seemed like it was going well (even the water drop test), but when I added the nuts and kept cooking, the nougat mixture really deflated and ended up mostly nuts. Does this mean I didn't cook it long enough before adding the nuts?

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about 1 year ago Emiko

This happens, it's quite normal and not necessarily that something has gone wrong, just keep cooking the mixture until it becomes very thick!

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about 1 year ago diane Sullivan

It actually worked, I only needed 10 more minutes. I am excited to try different combinations of nuts and zests.thank you!

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about 1 year ago Emiko

oh great to know! I have read about people putting a blow torch to the outside of the pan too - good to know it worked!

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about 1 year ago diane Sullivan

After reading all 49 comments I realize I didn't quite get to the soft ball stage. Could I take it out of the pan and reheat it, cook till that stage. Or do I throw it out and start over? It tastes great by the way. Thanks!

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about 1 year ago Emiko

That's actually a good question - you could try recooking it but honestly I've never tried doing that with a non set torrone! If you do, be sure to let us know how it went! Thanks.

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about 1 year ago Dan Rivera

I'll be making this torrone recipe this weekend!

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about 1 year ago withinseason

this is new to me but sounds fantastic! so... how does the ostia work exactly? does it attach ans stay on the candy? as in, i cut through the ostia and leave it on...or peel it off before eating?

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about 1 year ago Ernesto

You cut through the ostia and leave it on since it's an edible "paper" wafer. It basically makes the nougat look pretty and prevents it from sticking. The Torrone is quite sticky to handle. Also, the ostia doesn't really have much taste to it.

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about 1 year ago Emiko

It's similar to rice paper in that it's edible and keeps your fingers clean - but you can easily use parchment/baking paper instead, just remember that parchment has to be removed before eating!