An oh-so-sweet, pillowy confection of honeyed nougat, studded with nuts.
I was somehow convinced by a curious friend to make Italian torrone after we nibbled on it at Greenwich market. Quite a lot actually - I've halved the recipe for you here as it turned out be a rather sizable batch.
I've discovered that these are excellent alongside a strong cup of coffee, preferably consumed in my occasionally sun-drenched back garden, and certainly on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Then just sit back, channel Anita Ekberg and enjoy the sweet life.
HAZELNUT AND ALMOND TORRONE
170g clear honey
300g caster sugar
30g icing sugar
150g whole almonds/hazelnuts/pistachios or a combination
2 medium egg whites
about 30g cornflour
Edible wafer paper
1) Line an 8"x8" metal pan with the wafer paper, making sure to cover it all but without overlapping the pieces. Now place the caster sugar and honey in a large pan with a sugar thermometer, and stirring occasionally, heat until the mixture reaches 315 degrees. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 300 degrees while you whisk the egg whites.
2) Place the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl and use a hand whisk to mix it to stiff peaks, then add the icing sugar and beat again until glossy. When the honey mixture has cooled to 300 degrees, slowly start to whisk it into the egg white mixture in a thin, steady stream. When all the honey has been incorporated, continue to whisk until the mixture thickens to a stiffish paste, then stir in the nuts.
3) Turn out the mixture onto a cornflour covered surface and use a knife or your cornflour dusted hands to knead it for a minute, then stretch into a rectangle roughly the shape of the 8"x8" pan and place it onto the wafer paper. Cover with another layer of wafer paper, and gently press down all over to flatten. Allow to cool overnight before cutting into squares.