Growing up, one of the first things that really signaled the beginning of Christmas season was the display of all the different varieties of turron on the shelves of grocery stores, pastry shops and pantries. Turron duro is a hard nougat covered in wafer paper and normally comes from Alicante. Turron blando on the other hand, is a soft paste also made with ground almonds, honey and sugar and this usually comes from Jijona.
My fondest memories come from sitting down in my family’s pastry shop and watching everyone peel the blanched almonds for the turron by hand. Sacks and sacks of almonds were ordered, blanched, peeled and ground by hand in the pastry kitchen right before Christmas. We all helped as much as we could, even us kids. This was a very busy time and still is, with tons and tons of holiday orders to fill. My family still makes turron every year and how I wish I could be there to help.
So I really wanted to make some macarons with those flavors in mind. Although I have talked about making nougat in this blog several times already, I did not make the turron this time since it is available in our store straight from Spain. I made a paste by grinding it in the food processor and mixed it in with buttercream to create a nutty and creamy filling for the macarons. I hope you try them.
180 grams almond flour
245 grams powdered sugar
140 grams egg whites
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams of finely ground sea salt
80 grams granulated sugar
edible gold luster or chopped almonds for the topping
In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg white and the egg white powder. Whip in medium speed until egg whites start to increase in volume. When the egg whites are almost fully whipped and very fluffy, slowly start adding the sugar. After all the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip the meringue in high speed now until semi stiff peaks have formed. Add the food coloring now and whip.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the meringue. Fold until we achieve a shiny mass that is a bit runny but still leaves ridges. We are looking for a mass that spreads a little but not too much otherwise our macaroons will be flat. Test a couple to see if you need to mix some more.
Pipe the mass onto half sheet pans lined with silpats. Sprinkle the wet macaroons with chopped almonds or edible gold luster. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes so they dry. We want the tops to not stick to our finger when we touch them. This will ensure a crack-free macaroon.
Preheat oven to 350F. We will bake one sheetpan at a time. When you are ready to bake the first one, lower the oven temperature to 300F. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 8 minutes or so. Check to see if they are done by lifting one from the silicon mat. It’s ok if they stick a bit, but just a bit. As they cool on the hot sheetpan, they continue to dry. It’s a matter of trial and error.
50 grams egg whites
100 grams sugar
150 grams butter, room temperature
50 grams of turron paste
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together egg whites and the sugar lightly. Place over a water bath until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Bring bowl to the electric mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time while whipping. It might seem like the buttercream breaks, but continue whipping as it will come together. Add the turron paste and mix until combined.