Torrone di Cremona – nougat with vanilla and citrus

Torrone di Cremona is type of nougat hailing from Cremona in Lombardy. This regional version contains vanilla, lemon zest and candied peel as well as the usual almond and hazelnut mixture. This Italian sweet is traditionally eaten at Christmas but of course is delicious throughout the year!

First published in 2018
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Torrone, Italy's answer to nougat, is a sweet speciality typical of many Italian regions. In Cremona, Lombardy, however, it takes on a special form, as it includes ingredients such as candied citrus peel, vanilla and lemon zest, which make it even more rich and perfumed.

The origins of this recipe are uncertain, but it is common knowledge that it was someone from Cremona who, in Renaissance times, translated an ancient Middle Eastern recipe into the local idiom, calling it torrone (from torre, which means 'tower') as it reminded him of the tower that to this date dominates the cityscape of Cremona.

Every year, the city celebrates its beloved torrone with a festival that takes over its streets for a few weeks in November.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Torrone di Cremona

  • 300g of runny honey, mild in flavour
  • 300g of caster sugar
  • 100g of water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 200g of hazelnuts
  • 400g of blanched almonds
  • 100g of candied peel, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 unwaxed lemons, zested

Equipment

  • Large square wafer paper sheets

Method

1
Line a baking sheet with cling film and place a couple of wafer paper sheets on top. Set aside
2
Heat the honey in a double boiler. Once hot and very runny, lower the heat and reduce for about 30 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until darker and thicker
3
In a separate saucepan, whisk the sugar in the water until dissolved. Set the saucepan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring all the while, until the sugar has partially caramelised and the mixture has thickened
4
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold through the honey a little at a time until incorporated
5
Pour over the sugar and stir to combine, then transfer to a saucepan. Cook the mixture over a very low heat for 20 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent sticking and burning
6
Remove the egg, sugar and honey mixture from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until they are evenly combined
7
Transfer the torrone mixture to the lined baking sheet and press it down until level and around 2cm thick, whilst also making it fit within the edges of the wafer paper. Top with more wafer paper, then cover with more cling film and use a meat pounder or rolling pin to smooth the surface if it appears uneven
8
Allow the torrone to cool down completely. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges to make them even. Cut the torrone in bars or small squares and store wrapped in parchment paper

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Valeria Necchio is an Italian food writer and photographer with roots in the Venetian countryside.

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