My own recipe, though influenced by many sources.
Santucci's Practical Torrone (Christmas Nougat)
180g honey (½ cup)
100g egg whites (2 eggs)
350g sugar (1 ½ cups)
50g water (2 tablespoons)
450g (1 pound) roasted nuts
5-10 drops orange oil
2 sheets (8 ½” x 11”) Ostia (aka wafer, edible paper)
Combine honey, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Skim foam (if any is seen) off the honey when it reaches the boil.
In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Cook the honey mixture to 280° F (137° C). Remove from the heat. With the mixer on high speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk until volume has increased by about half and the mixture just starts to lose gloss – only about 5 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed and add the orange oil and nuts. When they are thoroughly mixed in, spread the resulting nougat over a sheet of Ostia. Try to cover the sheet as evenly as possible- the nougat is sticky and will make things difficult. When it is evenly covered, top with the other sheet of Ostia.
Leave to cool and crystallize completely in the open air before cutting, preferably overnight.
Note: I call this 'practical' Torrone because the recipe is made for home confectioners of reasonable skill to be able to easily understand what and how much to buy and what to do with it. The ingredient portions are biased for my country, the USA, but I saw no point in using English ounces for the weight-based version – those of us who prefer weight generally prefer it in grams.
Tips and tricks:
1.Keep nuts in a warm oven ( about 150° F / 65° C ) until you add them. Adding room temperature or colder nuts will reduce working time.
2.Getting the nougat spread between sheets of Ostia is the trickiest part of the process. I use buttered caramel rulers on the outside edges of the bottom sheet, pour and press nougat in place, and then press the top layer on with an offset spatula. If you don't have caramel rulers, try spreading the nougat with an offset spatula, topping with the other sheet, and rolling with a pin to smooth. I advise against trying to cast the slab in any kind of fixed side pan, as the stickiness will make it very difficult to remove.
3.Score the top layer of Ostia before cutting through. Once scored, a straight down cut with a Chef's knife works well. Cut into six 8 1/2” long bars and wrap in parchment or waxed paper to store, then cut into smaller rectangles to serve.
4.There are many possible alternate flavorings. 1-10 Lemon oil or 1 t. (5 ml) vanilla or almond extract work well and are traditional flavors. Candied orange peel and/or orange zest can also be added.
5.I use half pistachio and half almonds as the nuts. Hazelnuts (filberts) are also traditional. Any common nut should work.
6.Ostia is available from confectionery suppliers. I get 8-1/2” x 11” sheets from www.sugarcraft.com under the name 'wafer paper'.
This recipe is copyright 2009 by Patrick J. Santucci. Contact the author on eGullet under the username psantucc.