Homemade Italian torrone is one of my favorite holiday confections, yet, I do make it beyond the holidays.
Traditional Italian nougat is soft and chewy with a nice crunch a hint of a citrus background flavor!
Homemade Italian Torrone is Easy + Delicious
For my homemade Italian torrone, you can use rice paper if you chose or not!
Honey, sugar, nuts, and egg whites effortlessly combine to provide a very fulfilling sweet treat.
While this is not an advanced recipe, you will need to pay attention to the details of the recipe to get this right.
You won’t need your oven, but you will be using your stove.
Additionally, a stand mixer makes the mixing effortless but this can be done efficiently with a hand mixer as well.
Nut Options with Homemade Italian Torrone
The 2 official nuts of Italian nougat are almonds and pistachios, and really, walnuts are not a good fit nor are pecans.
However, if you are not a nut snob you could use them, but they won’t be official Italian nougat.
I’ve never deviated from the nuts because the taste is amazing!
As my Nonna was very specific in her recipe, most recipes out there also use the exact same nuts, and the taste just would not be the same with any other nuts.
Let’s Talk About Prep Work for the homemade Italian Torrone
You’ll start out by prepping a 9 x 13″ pan.
I use a heavy pan so that it is stable when I load it, however, any 9″ x 16″ pan will do.
A rectangle is a right shape and perfect for cutting the Italian nougat into bars.
You will both GREASE the pan and then add parchment paper atop the greased pan.
A stand mixer works best when whipping the egg whites, but a hand mixer will do the job if that is what you have and use.
During prep, when you are ready to combine everything and then place it into your 9″ x 13″ pan, you will use cornstarch.
Cornstarch allows you to work with the Italian nougat and not stick to it, did you know that?
Also, cornstarch should be lightly dusted across the cutting board after your Torrone has sat for 3 hours and is ready to be transferred to a cutting board to be cut into pieces.
Again, a simple dusting of cornstarch prevents sticking and Does NOT alter the taste!
Eggs + Room Temperatures + Italian Nougat.
No matter what recipe I work with, when there are eggs involved, I use room-temperature eggs, but I never let an egg sit on the counter.
Rather, I use a cup of warm faucet water and allow the eggs to sit within the glass, and the eggs come to temperature.
It’s a very efficient way to bring an egg to room temperature and a way to make your baking, cooking, etc, accurate as a room temperature egg works best in most (not all recipes)
The SIDE OF THE BOWL + Homemade Italian Torrone
After you have prepared the honey and sugar combination on the stove and allowed it to cool, it is critical that you really use the SIDE of the mixing bowl that contains the whipped egg whites when pouring in the cooled honey and sugar mixtures.
If you dump the cooled sugar mixture right on the egg white mix, it would ruin its consistency.
Therefore, remove the bowl from the mixing stand and slowly pour down the side of the bowl, and then place it on the mixer stand and mix.
Now, you will note, that you will be working quickly through all of this.
As this mixture comes together, the mixer may strain a bit, but it will make it through.
Your exterior touch to the bowl will be key in recognizing if you are done mixing, as it should become cool to touch.
Italian Nougat + Nuts and Citrus.
You’ll be adding the nuts in once the egg whites and sugar mixture are combined and cooled.
But at this point of the recipe, you will hustle as the nougat will begin to set.
So, you will hand mix in (fold) both nut varieties as well as either lemon zest or orange zest whichever you have chosen to use.
Achieving proper temperature of honey and sugar on the stove
One of the biggest markers of achievement in this recipe is the honey and sugar combination made on the stove.
A few quick things.
First, you combine the ingredients and stir them constantly until you achieve 280°F.
Once you hit this temperature, you can keep the boiling process moving forward, but you do not need to keep string because once the temperature is achieved, honey will no longer boil over.
Continue cooking this combination until you reach 315° F.
Then you’ll be removing the pot from the stove and allowing it to cool to about 300°F.
This is the mixture you will use to add to the side of the bowl I discussed above.
GRAB THE RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE ITALIAN TORRONE HERE ↓
- KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
- Parchment paper
- 9x13 baking pan (greased + lined)
- Candy thermometer
- Rubber Scraper
- Wooden Spoon
- Mixing Bowl
- 3 LARGE Egg Whites (see NOTES for how to make sure this is room temperature)*
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 1/4 C of granulated Sugar
- 2 C of Organic Raw Pure Honey ( I would suggest the cleanest most pure honey you can buy)
- 2 C Raw Almonds (whole + raw) Blanced or not your choice (skin on or off - I left the skin on my nuts)
- 1 1/2 C Pistachios (shelled)**
- 2-3 teaspoons of either Lemon Zest or Orange Zest freshly zested
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla (can be decreased to 1 tsp but I use 2)
- Cornstarch - is used only for your fingers when touching and forming the Italian Nougat
- RICE PAPER (OPTIONAL)
- Grease your pan, then add the parchment paper. Make certain that the parchment paper is taller than the walls on each side. of the pan. Set this aside. (if you are adding rice paper, add it now to the BOTTOM OF THE PAN. )
- Using your whipping attachment on your mixer or hand mixer, you will whip the egg whites and a 1/4 tsp of salt and watch for this combination to become foamy/frothy.
- Once foaming, gradually (don't dump in) add in 1/4 c of the sugar.
- Mix until the combination can hold a soft peak when the WHIP attachment is lifted out of it. Once this occurs set this aside.
- The stove burner should be on high heat + you will want a large saucepot (the one you can lift and dump from with ease once ingredients are combined in because you will be dumping out of this pot into your egg white mixture)
- To the pot, on high heat, add the remaining sugar and honey, and STIR constantly until 280°F
- Once you've reached 280°F you can stop stirring constantly but do continue to boil at this heat level without the worry of spillover until your mixture reaches 315°F - which is about 5 to 7 minutes more depending on your stove.
- Once 315 °F is achieved, remove the pot from stovetop and allow the mixture to COOL while STIRRING IT, to a temperature of 300°F. (this is just a few minutes)
- Also, you'll want to have your egg white combination that you set aside accessible.
- FOR THE NEXT FEW STEPS YOU WILL BE WORKING QUICKLY WITHOUT INTERRUPTION YOU CAN NOT STOP SO BE COMMITTED
- Once the honey and sugar combination has cooled to 300°F you will take that mixture and combine it by POURING IT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE BOWL (not the middle) little by little while running your egg white mixture in the bowl at HIGH SPEED. DO NOTE: (initially when you combine the hot to the cold you may see it get puffy but no worries it deflates as fast as it got puffy but no worries this is normal)
- Mix this until the outside of your mixing bowl becomes COOL to touch, As you mix this combination (the meringue) it will thicken
- Once the meringue has cooled from mixing, it's time to remove the bowl from your mixer stand (if using) and in your nuts, the fresh lemon or orange zest (whichever you have chosen), and vanilla. THIS IS ALL MIXED BY HAND WITH A STRONG WOODEN SPOON.
- Now transfer all the mixture from your bowl to the 9x13 baking pan, working very fast here as it cools and sets quickly,
- Grab your cornflour because you will be dipping your fingers into it to flatten the mixture and tuck it into the entire pan. Push the mixture with your cornflour-dipped fingers into the corners, and flatten as you are making a bar, don't smoosh, just make it flat.
- * (IF YOU ADDED RICE PAPER IT IS ALREADY ON THE BOTTOM, SO JUST ADD THE MIXTURE ON TOP OF THIS ) **OPTIONAL STEP YOU DON'T NEED TO USE RICE PAPER,
- Set aside to cool for up to 3 hours, (do not refrigerate it's not that kind of cooling).
- Once cooled, remove from baking pan onto a lightly cornstarch coated cutting board (so it does not stick) r , and remove parchment paper.
- Use a knife to cut into pieces. (you can spray your knife with cooking spray or brush it with veggie oil so that it won't stick when you cut it both methods work)
- Do NOT stack this when you store it, single layers only. (I can tell you without a doubt that IF you stack it on itself, it will flatten and squash, so do not ruin what you just created, single layer storage only.
*If your eggs are cold your recipe will fail. In order to create room temperature eggs, simply run your faucet to hot, and using a bowl or measuring cup, place the eggs inside the bowl or cup in the warm water for up to 10 minutes that will bring the EGGS to room temperature.
**For those that prefer pistachios, reverse the amounts for Almond to 1 1/2 C and pistachios to 2 C