500 grams creamed pure honey
9 cups "whole" almonds
2 cups chocolate chips
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
"Host" sheets sold at Italian bakery shops stores (also known as "wafer sheets")
Large baking pan (about 17 inches long by 11 inches wide, 3/4 inch depth)
o Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and egg whites until stiff peaks are formed (about 6 to 9 minutes).
o While the sugar and egg white mixture is being beaten, melt the "creamed" pure honey in a double boiler (tables about 10 minutes). In a separate double boiler, melt chocolate chips.
o After the honey has fully melted, and the egg and sugar mixture has formed stiff peaks, pour the melted honey into the egg and sugar mixture. Continue beating with the electric mixer for another 5 to 7 minutes.
o Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 300 F degrees (Oven will be used to roast almonds).
o After the the egg-sugar-and-honey mixture has been fully beaten, place it in a large stainless steel pan and cook on an oven burner over very low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (Take turns stirring the mixture with a cooking partner, as it will get very tiring and monotonous!).
o When the egg-sugar-and-honey mixture is nearly cooked, roast roasted the almonds at 300 F degrees for about 10 minutes (The time is important as it is best to incorporate the almonds into the nougat mixture while they are still hot, as they will stick better).
o Fit the baking pan that will contain the torrone with parchment paper -- this should be done in a precise manner. First, place the parchment paper on the baking pan, letting the parchment paper stick out about 2 inches; then place the host sheet on top of the parchment paper, cutting it to the size of the pan. ***P.S. It is very important that the baking pan be prepared while the mixture is being stirred. If one waits to do it after the process is completed and the heat is turned off, the mixture will cool and solidify and then it will be impossible to pour into the pan.
o After the egg-sugar-honey mixture has been stirred for 40 minutes, add the melted chocolate chips. Stir for about 4 minutes.
o After the melted chocolate chips have been fully incorporated add the [warm] roasted almonds and continue stirring the mixture for another 4 to 5 minutes, making sure that all the almonds are well-coated.
o Pour the egg-sugar-honey-and-almond mixture into the baking pan which has been fitted with parchment paper and "host sheets."
o With a wooden spoon spread out the mixture, so that it is nice and even in the pan.
o When the egg-white-honey-and-almond mixture is nice and flat, place a host sheet on top of it. Cut the host sheet to fit the pan (The egg-sugar-and-honey mixture is sandwiched between the hosts).
o Using a large wooden board (bigger than the baking pan) as a weight, place it on top of the egg-white-sugar-and-honey mixture (This is done to further flatten the mixture, as well as to make it as dense as possible).
o Place the baking ban [and the wooden board on it] in the fridge for about 45 minutes (The cooling solidifies the mixture).
o Remove the baking pan from the fridge. Take off the wooden board.
o Remove hardened egg-sugar-honey-and-almond mixture or "torrone" from the pan by holding onto the parchment paper.
o Place the parchment paper on which the torrone is still on, on a butcher block (or anything on which one can cut on).
o With a very sharp and big knife cut the torrone into strips of 11 inches by 1 1/2 inches
o Wrap up the torrone pieces in wax paper and keep in the fridge until needed.
o Serve at room temperature, cut into rectangular pieces about 2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide.
The torrone was made by Madeleine; the recipe was given to her by Pauline Fresco who turn got the recipe from a friend who presently lives in Toronto. P.S. Wafer cookie sheets are sometimes difficult to find, depending in the area one lives in. Thick cream-colored wafer sheets are often sold in large supermarkets. If one cannot find them there and lives in the Montreal area, there are two stores in Montreal that generally carry them. They include the large Italian grocery shop called MARCHE MILANO at 6862 St. Laurent H2S 3C7, phone 514-273-8558 and the large Arabic grocery store called, Supermarche AKHAVAN 6170 Sherbrooke West H4B 1L8 phone 514-485-4744 at www.akhavanfood.com. Many grocery shops from the Middle East carry wafer sheets. However, the thin white-colored wafer sheets called "host" sheets or "hostie" in Italian which are used to make Italian-style "torrone" as in this recipe are much harder to find. Sometimes Marche Milano has them, but not always. Apparently a Montreal-based company, "Berchicci," sells the "host" sheets on line. The company can be reached at www.berchicci.ca. Personal notes and photo: Mary Melfi.