When it is getting close to Christmas time the shops here have filled up with a Spanish specialty – Turrón. There’s every sort you can imagine, from all the big brand cake & dessert factories – chocolate flavour, crunchy, squishy, with pistachios, with candied fruit, rock hard, with egg yolks, toasted – all sorts of colours and of course all levels of quality!
Turrón is a traditional sweet of Arabic origin and has been popular for centuries. It is said that the Moors invented turrón over 500 year ago in Jijona, a small town about 50 km north of Alicante. The two original varieties are the duro (hard) and blando (soft) with the main ingredients being whole roasted almonds, honey and egg whites. There are several different qualities of turrón. There’s strict quality control over the labelling of turrón, with the highest level called Suprema which means the soft turrón must contain at least 60% almonds and the hard 64%.
It has never been one of my favourite delicacies until I tasted some home made by Montse last year – this version is seriously awesome. It doesn’t contain any of the normal ingredients (whole roasted almonds, honey nor egg whites), is super easy to make, a good alternative for those who have a nuts allergy – like Miranda – and is a great gift.
- 250g ground almonds
- 200g icing sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Granulated sugar for the top
- Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl. Add the vanilla essence and mix.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Work the mixture with your hands, turn out onto a work surface and continue to knead until it is well blended.
- Select a mould – a silicone one will work well – and line it with cling film. Squish the almond mixture into the base of the tin and push it firmly down, filling all the gaps. Fold over the cling film to stop the turrón drying out. Place a heavy weight on top.
- Leave it to stand for 3-4 days, then turn it out of the mould onto a serving plate. Sprinkle sugar on top to cover (2-3 tablespoons) and using a blow torch carefully melt the sugar to form a toffee.
- Cut into thin wedges to serve.