Torrone

11:30 am on 3 December 2012

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 3 cups whole dried cranberries
  • 100gm freeze dried Blueberries
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup manuka honey
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water

Method

Heat oven to 180°C. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once halfway through, until fragrant and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack; let nuts cool completely.

In a heavy saucepan with candy thermometer attached, heat sugar and honey over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to simmer and sugar is mostly dissolved (mixture will be very thick, then begin to loosen and turn cloudy).

Continue to cook mixture, stirring once or twice, until temperature reaches 155°C. Hard Crack. It will take the mixture about 15 minutes to reach that temperature (the mixture will begin to foam and darken in colour as temperature increases).

Grease the base with butter and line a 20-30 cm baking dish with parchment , letting excess paper hang over edges.

Put egg whites and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk and beat egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. Add caster sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute more. Turn off mixer, leaving bowl in place.

When sugar mixture reaches 155°C, remove from heat; stir until temperature reduces to 140°C, 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully remove candy thermometer. With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour sugar mixture down the side of the bowl (egg mixture will double in volume, then decrease); continue to beat until mixture is cooled to warm and begins to lighten in colour, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, orange water and zest; beat for 1 minute more, then, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, fold in nuts, blueberries and cranberries (mixture will be very sticky).

Pour into a tray and spread to the corners. Cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper and roll with a rolling pin to smooth out the mixture. Cover with another tray and weigh that down with a heavy weight. Leave this overnight.

The next day cut into pieces and serve.

Suggested wines

de Bortoli NOBLE ONE Botrytis Semillon 2008 (Australia). I always seem to mention this wine but it is always a winner. It’s got citrus (cumquat preserve if you will) on the nose and a deep rich toffee note too. There’s an acid lift that stops it being just treacle. But the mouth is filled with lush lush sweetness. A treat. $35-40 for 375ml

Alvear SOLERA 1927 Pedro Ximenez (aka PX) (Spain). From a region next to Jerez where sherry is made. This is very similar. Treacle and black sugar, molasses rum. Hints of ginger, fig, apricot jam even. Coffee. Mocha bonbons. Christmas day in a glass. $50ish for 500ml

Coffee and a liqueur.
LICOR 43 (Spain). After all my years doing this (drinking) I never really found this liqueur until a year or so ago. It has a vanilla and citrus base. But there are also hints of cinnamon. There is a brandy warmth without being too hot, and a good sweet but not cloying finish. $50ish for a 700ml bottle

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