The turron de Jijona is a soft and sticky nougat-like paste which is as much of a synonym for Spanish Xmas as it is the nativity or the Xmas tree.
Xmas is quickly approaching and I don’t think anyone in Spain can imagine Xmas without turron de Jijona.
Of the two most popular turrones –the hard one and the soft one– the Jijona is the soft one. It is made of exactly the same ingredients as the hard one although in this case the nuts are grounded, resulting in a soft and slightly sticky paste on the mouth.
Like with most simple recipes, the secret here relies on having the best possible quality ingredients, specially when it comes to the almonds. Ideally, go for the Marcona variety, which is the one originally used in and around the town of Jijona, where as I am sure you have already guessed, the turron de Jijona comes from.
My only other advice, although not crucial, is to toast and ground your own almonds rather than using the arguably more comfortable packs of already-ground almonds. The reason? One, it is more difficult to find high-quality ground almonds. Two, we lose most of the very precious almond oil that results from the grounding itself.
And remember, contrary to what some might think when opening a turron de Jijona tablet, the oilier it is, the better the quality. The presence of oil is just a sign of the good quality of the almonds. The better the almonds, the oilier they will be!
- 250 g Marcona almonds – ground. You can also use ground almonds although the result is better with whole almonds.
- 50 g Marcona almonds – crushed
- 50 g Pine nuts – crushed
- 150 g Honey
- 100 g Icing sugar
- 0.5 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 Egg white
- Toast 250g of almonds and ground them as finely as you can. You can use ground almonds instead, in which case remember to toast them anyway. Reserve.
- Crush the other 50g of almonds together with the pine nuts. We are using them to add texture, so don’t crush them too finely as we want the small bits to be noticeable when you eat the turron.
- Heat the honey in a heavy bottom saucepan. When it’s completely melted, add the icing sugar and stir thoroughly until you have a fine paste without any lumps. Add the cinnamon and mix well.
- Whisk the egg white until stiff and slowly add it to the saucepan, stirring in constantly until it blends completely with the other ingredients.
- Stir in the ground almonds and the crushed almonds and pine nuts. Use a baking spatula to integrate all the ingredients until they are perfectly blended.
- Cover the bottom of a rectangular container (chocolate-tablet-shaped kinda mold) with cling film and then fit the turrón paste into the container, pushing well into the corners to get rid of any air pockets.
- Cover with cling film and put some weight on top, enough to apply some pressure to the paste so it becomes more compact.
- Let it set in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours before eating it.
When you take it out you might notice some oil at the bottom of the mold. This is the almond oil which results from the applied pressure and it is completely normal. In fact it is a sign of quality, hence you will see this happening more often when using whole Marcona almonds than ground almonds from the corner shop.
Like with many recipes, different people like different things. Feel free to have a go and vary the proportion of certain ingredients. For instance, if you find it too sticky, reduce the amount of honey. Or if you find it too sweet, cut down on the sugar.