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Do you know what torrone is?

Torrone is the Italian name for a candy confection that we would refer to in English as nougat. It’s a chewy sweet that is most commonly enjoyed at Christmas time. Growing up, our holiday cookie trays always had pieces of torrone added to them both for decoration and for enjoyment.

Many people make torrone at home, but for the most part, I dislike those versions of torrone because they almost all feature marshmellows as the main ingredient.

Real torrone is usually made with honey, sugar, egg whites and other additions, most commonly almonds. But you can find all sorts of variations that include chocolate, different nuts, candied fruits and spices.

Most people that make it at home melt marshmellows to recreate the nougat consistency and then simply add in the nuts. I’ve always found these homemade versions of torrone to be sickly sweet and worse, if the marshmellows are old or if the torrone hangs around a bit too long, it’s far too difficult to chew.

As a torrone lover, I’m lucky that we’re able to find some of the very best brands in various Italian supermarkets in and around Toronto. But I am also most happy to tell you that thanks to the 2007 December issue of Gourmet, you can now make real Pistachio Torrone at home.

I bookmarked this recipe more than a year ago and finally got around to trying it this past Christmas. I was going through some pictures on my computer the other day and realized that I’d never posted about this recipe and I certainly didn’t want to wait for next Christmas.

I’m not going to lie to you. Making nougat is a bit tricky, mostly because it involves adding a hot sugar syrup to well beaten egg whites. If you’ve ever made a swiss meringue or certain types of buttercream you’ll know that this can be the beginning of an unpleasant situation involving hardened sugar, much cursing and lots of scraping.

But if you take your time and follow the steps carefully, you’ll end up with a lovely mellow nougat that’s beautiful to look at (pistachios make everything pretty) and fragrant (rosewater is officially my ingredient of 2009).

Another friendly tip: making torrone at home means buying rice paper, which is an edible paper often used in baking. I’m able to find rice paper at my local bulk food store but if you can’t locate it, try your nearest cake supply store or on-line cake supply source.

In other news, I’m happy to see that Magazine Mondays is really taking off! Remember, anyone can take part. All you have to do is send me a link to a magazine recipe that you’ve posted about. It doesn’t matter what day of the week you post your recipe, I always do the round-up on Mondays!

Here are all the people that have made a dent in their magazine pile this week:

Janie of Panini Girl had me drooling with a Sausage Stuffed Rack of Pork!

Jen of Baking and Dogs made some adorable Flourless Honey Almond Cakes.

Cathy of the blog Noble Pig (I love it … love it … love it) made it all easier for the rest of us by preparing The Lazy Cook’s Baklava.

I missed posting Wandering Coyote’s entry last week so here it is: Tilapia with Soy Sauce and Pineapple Scallion Rice.

Joy of The Cooking of Joy made some health Wok-Fried Edamame with Garlic.

Mandy from Australia (I love saying that …) and the blog Red Dirty Mummy sends along a Date Loaf that looks scrumptious!

Thanks to everyone that took part! Have a great week, everyone!

Ciao!