Friday, April 13, 2007
Seven years ago, before he was about to leave for Christmas break and after I had submitted his grade, Vinny Termini appeared in my kitchen at the Culinary Institute of America with a box of pastries from his family's shop in Philadelphia. There were cannoli, macaroons, baba au rhum and a bunch of other fine things all of them first rate, if forgotten.
But the one thing in that box I could not forget and indeed, cannot forget, was the torrone. It was the best I have ever eaten -nothing like the boxed stuff from Italy that I was most familiar with. In fact the Termini Brothers' torrone was so good that I began to buy it at least once-a-year for my family and friends.
If you have never heard of torrone you could be forgiven. But for Italian-Americans of a certain age, this wafer clad nougat confection is embroidered into the fabric of our identity. While it's not at the epicenter of being like pasta or prosciutto, it's regular appearance at Christmas time, Easter and fancy Sunday dinners attended by visiting relations, makes it at least as essential a mnemonic to us as say, a devil's food layer cake, might be to another species of American.
Of course I could make torrone myself, but screw it. You need special molds (I believe Termini Bros. have been using the same bronze molds for 80 years.) the wafer is not that easy to get and a pain to make (I've done it, I know). And anyway, the torrone from Termini Bros. is too good to bother.
And another thing, the empty cans are great for storing stuff. I've gt a half dozen in my workshop that are full of screws, drill bits, switches and everything but, alas, torrone.
Termini Bros Pasticceria