Turrón is a nougat made in Spain from honey, egg whites, and toasted almonds. It is similar to Torrone in Italy.
It can be sold as a rectangular slab, or come as a round cake between two thin waffle cookies. You can get Turrón year round, but it is mainly sought out at Christmas.
The most popular almond to use in making it is the Marcona variety. Other almonds often used include Planeta, Mollar, Mallorca and Valencia. If Turrón meets more than the minimum % guidelines for almond content (minimum 60% for Alicante; minimum 64% for Jijona), it can be classed as “Suprema.” Below that are three other grades, “Extra,” “Estándar” (standard) and “Popular.”
Turroneros are people who make Turrón.
There are two main types of Turrón.
Turrón de Alicante (PGI)
Aka Turrón Duro.
This is a hard and brittle version of Turrón, using whole almonds and white sugar. The almonds are less toasted than they are for the other main kind.
To make it, honey is slowly heated to evaporate the water in it away. Then sugar is mixed in, then stiffly beaten egg white. This is mixed for about 10 minutes over a low flame until it caramelizes. Then whole almonds are mixed in, and the mixture is put into moulds to set.
Turrón de Jijona (PGI)
Aka Turrón Blando.
This is a soft, chewy, sticky version of Turrón. It has the consistency of peanut butter. The almonds are more toasted.
It is made in Jijona, Spain (aka Sexona, or Xixona in Valencian, population 7500 people as of 2009.)
To make it, the toasted almonds are ground to a paste, and stiffly beaten egg white is mixed in.
Honey and sugar are brought to a boil, and the nut paste and egg white mixture is stirred in. The mixture must be stirred non-stop for 10 minutes. It is then put into moulds to set.
Another way to make it is to take hard Turrón (Turrón de Alicante), grind it with almond oil, heat this, beat until smooth mix, then add egg white, and mould.
In modern times, many varieties of Turrón now include chocolate, liqueurs, etc. Chocolate Turrón is graded “Extrafino,” “Fino” and “Popular.”
Turrón de yema has egg yolks in it.
Torró de gat is a kind of Turrón with popcorn in it. It is made near Valencia.
Turrón de Agramunt (PGI) is a hard Turrón. It is made from honey, sugar, egg white, egg yolk, and marcona almonds.
Types of Turrón are made in the Philippines.
Turrones de Casuy is made in the Pampangga region of the Philippines from cashew nuts. It comes in a white wafer form.
In the Philippines, there is also Turones de Pili, made from Pili nuts.
Turrón de Doña Pepa
This Turrón made in Peru is more like a cake.
It consists of three or four thin layers of dense cake flavoured with anise, drizzled with a molasses syrup, and with pineapple and quince puree filling between the layers. It is decorated with sugar candies on top.
Turrón de Doña Pepa is traditional for the Lord of Miracles (Señor de los Milagros) procession in October in Peru. In bakeries, it is made in very large slabs; they will cut a small slab off to sell you.
Turrón is presumed to be an Arab recipe, though nougats were also made by the Romans long before Muslims arrived in Spain.
The first mention of Turrón in Spain is in a 1541 play by Lope de Rueda called “Los lacayos” (The Thieving Footmen.)
The earliest recipe may be that dating from the “Manual de Mujeres” (Manual for Women) written in the 1500s.
Turrón appears again in the 1584 book “Conduchos of Christmas” by Francisco Martinez Montiño.
Sugar seems to be a eighteenth century addition.
On 18 August 1939, Spain created a legal “Denomination of Origin” for Turrón de Jijona.
On 20 July 1991, the rules surrounding Turrón production were revised to include both the soft and the hard types.
Literature & Lore
“The first shipment of Spanish turrone in almost four years has been received by the importers, Joseph Victori and Company, 164 Pearl Street, New York City. Two varieties are available, the jijona and the alicante, both made with toasted almonds, honey, egg white, and corn syrup. The difference is in the get-together of the ingredients. In the jijona, the nuts are crushed, then blended into the mixture which is baked into blocks. The almonds in the alicante are merely halved, which gives a confection harder and less oily [Ed: word missing in original] than the jijona. Hard as a rock, almost.” — Paddleford, Clementine (1898 – 1967). Food Flashes Column. Gourmet Magazine. January 1944.