Turron is a time-honored Spanish candy, traditionally eaten during the Christmas holidays though available year-round. It is a type of nougat confection containing honey, egg whites and almonds or other nuts. Different varieties include hard and crunchy Alicante turron, soft and chewy Jijona turron, as well as turron flavored with egg yolk, chocolate and many other ingredients.
Origins of Turron
The production of turron dates back to the 16th century in the town of Jijona, in the province of Alicante, which is located along the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Almonds, pistachios and other traditional ingredients, including honey and nuts, are at the core of confectionery production in the region. A regulatory council guarantees the origin and quality of turron from Alicante and Jijona.
Almonds are used whole or chopped for hard Alicante-style turron. Commercially available “supreme” quality Alicante turron contains a minimum of 60 percent almonds. To make at home, whip egg whites to a glossy meringue, fold them into warm honey, and then cook gently to condense the mixture into a thick caramel. Roasted almonds are added before the turron is cooled and portioned.
Soft Jijona-style turron has a consistency that goes from smooth like peanut butter to a firm and slightly crumbly paste. It is made from finely ground almonds, which makes it easier on the teeth than hard Alicante-style turron. Commercially available “supreme” quality Jijona turron contains a minimum of 64 percent almonds. To make Jijona turron at home, stir warm honey and sugar together, fold in whisked egg whites, add lemon zest and cinnamon, and stir in ground almonds. Press down the mass and let it cool before slicing.
Tasty Turron Options
Other turron varieties sold in disc form or as rectangular bars include golden turron from Agramunt made with almonds or hazelnuts. Turron enhanced with egg yolk is also particularly popular. Contemporary recipes feature an array of ingredients such as chocolate, candied fruits or liqueurs. Some of the most creative turron flavor combinations are cream and walnut, orange and marzipan, chocolate truffle and whiskey, as well as “crema catalana," which is similar to crème brûlée. Sugar-free turron suitable for diabetic diets is also available.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images