Torrone Sardo (Sardinian Nougat)

November 29, 2013


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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound nuts, such as whole almonds
  • 1/2 pound honey
  • 2 egg whites
In This Recipe

Directions

  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.

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Reviews (98) Questions (1)

98 Reviews

Emma April 14, 2018
Id like to make this for my dads birthdy ina couple of days but i have to ask what is the point of whisking the egg whites before adding to the honey if all the air will be stirred out when cooking? Does it make a difference to the end product?
 
Author Comment
Emiko April 15, 2018
Absolutely! That opaque white colour and soft, fluffy, chewy texture is all due to the egg whites being whipped -- the whipping changes the structure of the proteins similar to how heating changes the structure of the proteins -- you can't go back. I have never made it without whipping the whites to confidently give you a side by side comparison of what will happen but I'm pretty sure it'll be a giant, inedible flop if you don't whip them!
 
Emma April 15, 2018
Thanks so much for that! Im going to make it tomorrow and am so grateful that youve lrovided a recipe where i dont have to panic over temperatures and add in glucose etc xx
 
deliane February 22, 2018
(sorry- typo: terrOne, of course. spellcheck! always thinks it knows best (-: )
 
deliane February 22, 2018
thank you very much for posting this! I have been searching and searching for the exquisite terrine I had in Italy.. but all the ones I've found in stores in New York have the glucose syrup, corn starch, etc etc.. I am looking forward to trying this-- so simple- and so 'Old World slow'.. sigh! with just 3 ingredients, all that matters is quality and taking the time to do something right. how lovely.
 
etm567 February 2, 2018
Excuse me for being an old lady grammar policewoman, but you don't mean to substitute almonds for other nuts, you mean to substitute some other nuts for some of the almonds. The substitute is the different thing you add. For some reason, the younger generation often gets this backwards. Like a substitute teacher is substituting for the regular teacher. You can substitute some pistachios for some of the almonds. Not the other way around.
 
Ashley A. November 10, 2016
Hmm at a loss, after mixing the whites and honey there is only a layer of light colored foam at the top with a layer of honey at the bottom. Should I cook longer than the suggested 45 min? Thanks !
 
Ashley A. November 10, 2016
Oh and I stirred slowly the whole time!
 
Christina K. October 24, 2016
First of all thank you thank you thank you for this recipe! My father was born in Patada in Sardegna and I remember as a child buying to toronne like this on the streets of the town during festival. Every time my dad went to Italy we all waited for him to bring some back. My father is been gone for six years now and it has brought so much joy to my family being able to have this wonderful treat again. I have had some issue with batches not setting, in reading some of the comments here I see that it is just a case of cooking it longer. I have a question for you though. have you ever tried making larger batches? If so did you have issues with that? I tried and it didn't set after an hour and a half to two hours of stirring. I just don't know if it just takes longer or if it just doesn't work in larger batches. Can you please advise?
 
Fredrik B. December 19, 2015
It doesn't really seem to be setting. I did try the water control, which seemed like a success, but it's still incredibly soft and sticky after 24 hours.
 
Author Comment
Emiko December 19, 2015
Sounds like it needs to be cooked a little longer (even though the test should confirm it's right). You can try putting it back on the heat (a reader below did this and had success!) for a bit longer. It shouldn't be as sticky as this sounds once it's set.
 
Fredrik B. December 20, 2015
Tried melting it down and heating it for another half hour. Which was probably a complete overkill, since it reduced quite a bit, but this time it set nearly seconds after I was done.
 
fiorentina C. December 25, 2014
I had one problem when the torrone the honey and the egg white were always very foaming and the honey and eggs were never thicking ,I donot know were I whened wrong,could you explain it to me.
 
karamou December 26, 2014
I made the recipe several times over the last few days and over different hobs. I realised that some needed more heat than what it says on the recipe. If you heat it more it should thicken without problems.
 
Kristina N. December 22, 2014
Does anyone have any idea what you can substitute the edible paper for? Would parchment paper do?
 
Author Comment
Emiko December 22, 2014
Yep! As you'll see in the photos and recipe above, I used parchment paper - Instruction no 1 tells you how to use it! :)
 
Kristina N. December 22, 2014
Oops! Thank you! Can't wait to give it a try!
 
Betty M. December 20, 2014
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.
 
Linda M. December 19, 2014
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...
 
karamou December 18, 2014
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
 
cookdoctor December 18, 2014
Definitely going to try it!
 
Linda M. December 18, 2014
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?
 
Author Comment
Emiko December 21, 2014
I used a 7x8 inch pan actually (you can see it in the photos)! I think something may have gone amiss below.
 
Liz December 17, 2014
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?
 
Author Comment
Emiko December 21, 2014
Hi Liz, 30 minutes is just about right timing but sometimes you may need more and to find that out you should do the soft ball test which is described above. It sounds like something went drastically wrong here! The nougat in the photos above were made in a 7x8 inch pan so there should definitely have been enough to make a layer more than an inch thick. When it comes off the heat it should be very thick and glossy and look like the image above where you can see it in the aforementioned pan. Hope that helps!
 
Susan M. December 7, 2014
This was easy and turned our perfectly when recipe followed as described. the comments and questions blow my mind. Pop.
 
Paige October 28, 2014
Hi, I was just wondering if this was soft or hard nougat?
 
Author Comment
Emiko October 28, 2014
Hi! It's described in the Author notes above - this makes a soft, chewy nougat (torrone morbido).
 
Maggie September 15, 2014
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?
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 15, 2014
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.
 
Maggie September 17, 2014
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?
 
Maggie September 17, 2014
By the way, thanks for answering our questions almost a year after you've written the article!
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 17, 2014
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!
 
Christina K. October 24, 2016
Keep it in the refrigerator it gets harder which is how I like it but will soften to normal after a few minutes out of the fridge
 
Megan E. September 1, 2014
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 :)
 
Megan E. September 2, 2014
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 :)
 
RW May 13, 2014
how long does this keep? Wouldn't it be lovely in a care package.