Together with panettone, pandoro and Prosecco there is something that can never miss at an Italian Christmas dinner table: the "torrone" or nougat.
Traditionally nougat is white, made of sugar, honey and nuts; it can be soft or hard. But you can also find chocolate ones which are quite easy to make at home. It might take a little while as you have to heat the honey for a couple of hours but it is well worth it.
It can make a beautiful Christmas present and you can make it right now as it lasts well while wrapped in kitchen foil. I have already made mine to have on Christmas day. It is really addictive. Make yours too!
- Prep Time : 3 hours + 8 hours to set minutes
- Cook Time : 2 hours 40 minutes
Put the honey in a small sauce pan or in a ceramic bowl; now place it over a larger pan filled with little water and bring to the boil. Keep the heat at a minimum so that the honey will gently cook and reduce. It should also turn darker in colour. It will need to cook for a couple of hours.
Toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 170C for about 15-20 minutes. Then take them out of the oven and with the help of a clean tea towel remove the skins. Then put the hazelnuts back in the switched off oven to keep them warm
Twenty minutes before the honey is ready put the sugar and the water in a sauce pan and crystallize the sugar over a very gentle heat. Make sure you stir it all the time. The sugar needs to almost completely crystallize
Now melt the chocolate by placing it in a ceramic bowl over a larger sauce pan with simmering water
Now pour the sugar over the honey, then add the melted chocolate, the vanilla extract and finally 3/4 of the hazelnuts.
Mix well and pour it into a small rectangular dish covered with kitchen paper leveling it well
Put the remaining hazelnuts on top and let it set for about 8 hours
It will last well for a long time wrapped in kitchen foil.