Welcome back. Today we are going to talk about the Sicilian Nougat, or “Torrone” – “Cubbarda e Minnulata”. This is an Italian dessert that is made with honey, sugar, sesame seeds, toasted almonds, and orange or lemon zest. It is a very tasty and easy and quick sweet to make. When stored properly, torron will keep for approximately 2 weeks.
A little story…
My research reveals that Cubbarda was introduced to Sicily by the Byzantines. His name for this treat was “pastifeli”. Like so many Italian desserts from Sicily, this nougat also has a name given to it by the Saracens, called “qubbayt” in Arabic. The almond nougat, Minnulata, is made throughout the island of Sicily. It was originally made with 100% honey as a sweetening agent but when the Saracens introduced sugar to the island, some of the honey was substituted for sugar. This sweet is very popular because it is easy to make and only takes a few minutes to prepare. The recipe that follows is quite simple and also has a variation.
- 1 1/2 pounds honey
- 1 1/2 pounds granulated sugar
- 2 cups of sesame seeds
- 1 cup toasted and crushed unsalted pistachios and/or almonds
- zest of an orange
- a pinch of cinnamon
Generously grease a shallow pan, marble slab, or counter surface. The cooked nougat is poured into or over it.
Using a 3-quart saucepan, cook all ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar caramelizes and mixture is golden in color (about 5 to 10 minutes).
For the mixture cooked in the oiled pan or on the oiled marble. Spread the mixture in the pan until smooth and level with a greased spatula.
Quickly cut the nougat into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces. Wrap and seal each piece in a piece of wax paper. Store the nougat pieces in an airtight container.
Cook the nougat as above, but when the nougat has caramelized and turned golden brown, reduce the heat and add 3 cups of unsalted toasted almonds, the zest of one orange, and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Finish the nougat in the same way as above.
This Italian dessert can be made and, if wrapped properly and stored in an airtight container, will keep for about 2 weeks.
This dessert is one that I have not tried yet. Sounds yummy though… huummm… I wonder if you could add chocolate? We may have another variation here!
Come back for a little change. The next posts will be about bread puddings. My research has led me to some interesting history and recipes for bread pudding. I think you’ll find some of them quite tasty. The story is quite varied as well. Come back and we’ll switch gears.