Torrone Morbido is an soft Italian nougat that abounds in shops during the holidays. Along with panforte and panettone, I make this every year around the holidays.
This batch was inspired by my parents' friend Roland. He had brough them some snowberry honey and fresh eggs. As a 'thank you' my mom asked if I could create something with those two items for Roland to taste. Eggs plus honey have a lot of potential, but torrone morbido definitely tops my list.
This honey come from Northern California - way north! - near where Jake grew up. When I opened up the jar, I had two responses: one, 'Wow! That is really aromatic' and, two, 'Aren't snowberries poisonous?!?!' So, it turns out that, yes, snowberries themselves are poisonous, but the honey made from the snowberry blossom pollen is not. Jake reminded me that I often buy poison oak honey at the farmers' market. Fine.
And we taste-tested this torrone for several days before handing them out to friends and family. I hope Roland enjoys this as much as we do.
I would typically use all pistachios, but I didn't have three cups' worth, so I mixed pistachios and slivered almonds.
cornstarch for dusting
3 cups whole, roasted and unsalted pistachios
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used a birch-smoked salt from Iceland...just for kicks)
3 cups organic granulated sugar
1 cup snowberry honey (you can use whatever honey you have)
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste
finely grated zest of one organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
Also needed: candy thermometer, parchment paper
Put egg whites and salt into a medium mixing bowl.
In a heavy saucepan, heat sugar and honey over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to simmer and sugar is mostly dissolved. Drop a candy thermometer into the pan.
Cook until temperature reaches 315 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take approximately 15 minutes to reach temperature. As it gets close, the mixture will begin to foam and darken in color.
Meanwhile, beat egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
When honey mixture reaches 315 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from heat; stir until temperature drops to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully remove the candy thermometer.
With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour honey mixture down the side of the bowl. The egg mixture will double in volume, then decrease. Continue to beat until mixture is cooled to just warm and begins to lighten in color, approximately 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and zest; beat for 1 minute more, then, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, fold in pistachios. The mixture will be very sticky.
Turn out the torrone onto a cutting board; dust hands with cornstarch. Knead for 5 to 6 turns, then dust hands with more cornstarch and press candy to flatten and shape into a rectangle on a cornstarch-dusted parchment paper. Put torrone on wire rack and let cool completely, approximately 1 hour.
Using parchment paper, lift torrone onto a cutting board; cut candy into pieces. Layer in a sealed container, between sheets of parchment paper. Seal and let stand overnight to dry out.
I like to serve this with small glasses of vin santo or grappa. Cin cin.