Catholic Recipe: Torrone
Also Called: Nougat
Among the gay crowds in the streets of New York for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, carts are being pushed along laden with Torrone (nougat) and Granita di Caffe and frosted cakes and candies of such bright colors that to the unaccustomed eye they suggest indigestion if not death. But evidently Our Lady of Carmine takes good care of her clients: there is a saying that no one will ever be taken ill on her day or as a result of its celebration.
Torrone is very difficult to make at home. You need a lot of time and patience — be prepared to start all over again. Most Italians buy their torrone.
Put the honey in the top of a double boiler over boiling water and stir for an hour — until the honey is caramelized. Beat the egg whites stiff and add slowly to the honey, mixing well. In a small saucepan boil the sugar and water until it also caramelizes, but do not stir. Slowly add the sugar to the honey and mix thoroughly. Cook for about five minutes more or until a little dropped into cold water hardens. Add nuts (the almonds having been blanched and the hazelnuts toasted in a hot oven for a few minutes), the candied peel, and the lemon rind. Mix quickly before the mixture hardens. Pour into well-oiled small loaf pans and after about twenty minutes cut into strips about two inches wide. Traditionally the top and bottom of the Torrone is covered with wafers which can be purchased at Italian confectionery stores. These wafers are called Ostia.
To store, seal completely in wax paper, cover with foil, and then place in a closed container.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951