Winter festivities are nigh-unimaginable without nougat candy in Europe, and the tradition also seems to be spreading rather quickly to the US. And among classic Christmas nougat candy, Spanish turron is the reigning king, with its name more closely associated with both Christmas and Three Kings Day than any other.
But with the classic turron varieties becoming more famous, it seems they are also, unfortunately, overshadowing other, more novel but no less delicious Spanish sweets. Turron Yema Tostada is one such variety.
In the article below, we’ll break down what makes turron Yema Tostada unique and why you should consider adding it to your winter shopping list.
What is Turron?
Turron is one of the most famous Spanish sweets. It’s a variety of nougat candy, typically made with almonds, sugar, honey, and egg whites.
The two most famous varieties of Spanish turron exist:
Turron de Alicante, also known as Turron Duro: hard nougat from Alicant. It’s usually a white (unless flavored with chocolate) compact block containing whole roasted almonds (around 60% of overall turron mass).
Turron de Jijona (Xixona), also known as Turron Blando: soft nougat that’s considered the oldest Spanish turron variety, with the original recipe dating to the 15th century. Almonds are turned to paste and combined with turron mix. About 64-65% of the overall mass is almonds. This turron is soft, crumbly, and often caramel-colored instead of white.
But while turron de Alicante and turron de Jijona are the most famous (and the most tightly controlled ones, as they both have PGI designation), they are hardly the only turron varieties popular in Spain. It’s long become a tradition to add on or adapt the classic recipes with new ingredients, like swapping almonds for other nuts, adding ingredients like cacao and fruits, etc.
Some of the best-selling Spanish turron varieties around the Christmas season include chocolate turron, turron de Guirlache (a caramel-almond concoction reminiscent of nut brittles), and turron Yema Tostada, arguably the most unique and most famous among the non-traditional turron varieties.
What is Turron Yema Tostada, and How is it Different from Classic Turron?
Turron de Yema Tostada, or more simply, Turron Yema Tostada, is a variety of soft Spanish nougat candy made with egg yolks (yema) instead of egg whites.
The turron is made by combining ground almonds with sugar and egg yolks (instead of traditional egg whites) to create a soft and smooth paste, somewhat similar to turron de Jijona. Like other classic Spanish nougats, it’s often flavored additionally with honey and cinnamon.
Turron Yema is soft and chewy (but it shouldn’t be overtly sticky or gooey, more on that below) with bright golden-yellow color. When Turron Yema is additionally covered with a layer of sugar glaze and burned on top with a special iron to give it the signature deep golden-brown color, it becomes Turron Yema Tostada.
It’s all right there in the name: Turron Yema literally means “egg yolk nougat,” and the name Turron Yema Tostada means “toasted egg yolk nougat.”
What Does Turron Yema Tostada Taste Like?
Turron Yema Tostada is very sweet, but not unpleasantly or cloyingly so. The almond paste for turron yema already has a high content of honey and sugar. Additionally, the Yema Tostada variety is covered with a layer of golden sugar glaze, which only amplifies the sweetness level.
The turron has a robust but delicate flavor that is often compared to Crema Catalana. Honey and cinnamon often lead the flavor profile, with almonds a bit more muted than, say, in classic turron de Jijona but still prominent enough. Egg yolk adds to the texture’s creaminess, but the turron’s flavor isn’t eggy at all (at least not in the turron that’s been prepared properly).
Who Invented Turron Yema Tostada? Which Turron Yema Tostada Producer Makes the Best Nougat?
Turron de Alicante and turron de Jijona became staple treats in Spain by at least the 16th century (and had been prepared and consumed by the rich and noble even earlier).
Turron Yema Tostada has a relatively short history compared to the two. While it’s hard to track down when exactly it was created, most sources agree that it didn’t pop up until the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, from then on, the details get even fuzzier: not only do we not know the name of the person who created the initial Yema Tostada recipe, but where it was created is shrouded in mystery, as well.
One theory is that it was invented in Jijona at a convent. A spin, so to speak, on the traditional soft nougat recipe (the two do share some similarities, so this theory isn’t without foundation).
The second theory is that it was invented by an enterprising young confectioner who wished to garner more attention for his establishment.
Either way, it seems like, as of right now, there’s no solid answer to who invented turron Yema Tostada, so there’s no consensus over who makes the best one either.
Several prominent turron manufacturers have added it to their product lineup, including 1880, one of the oldest traditional turron manufacturers in Spain with roots going all the way back to 1725, El Almendro, likely the best-known Spanish turron producer that’s been in the game since 1883, and El Artesano, the most recent addition to the list (it was established in 1969) but also one of the best-known Spanish sweets that have made itself a name as one of the premier turron de Jijona maker.
How is Turron Yema Tostada Traditionally Eaten?
Turron Yema Tostada is commonly cut into long thin stripes before being eaten. Commercially packaged turron is sometimes sold already cut into bars, though you’ll have to cut it yourself most of the time.
Make sure to use a sharp knife, preferably one with serrated edges, as turron may stick to it, making it harder to cut. Lightly oiling the blade (with neutral-flavor oil) can make the task easier.
Similar to the more famous turron de Alicante and turron de Jijona, turron Yema Tostada is often served during the months of December and January, serving as a traditional snack during the Christmas season through the Three Kings Day (Epiphany).
In a tradition similar to Americans leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, in Spain, families leave out a turron selection (often more than one kind), water, and milk for the Three Kings to accommodate the long journey they have to make.
If no water, milk, or turron is left to be found the following morning, the children can rest assured that the Three Kings and their camels have recovered their strength and continued the journey safely.
What Do You Pair with Turron Yema Tostada?
Turron Yema Tostada is generally on the sweeter side, sometimes even sweeter than turron de Jijona, which is often considered to be the sweetest of all nougat candy varieties.
Due to the high sweetness levels, strong black coffee (like classic espresso or, at least, standard Americano, if espresso is too strong for you) is considered to be the best drink pairing for turron Yema Tostada.
Like more well-known classic Spanish turron varieties, it can also sometimes be paired with brandy, though the pairing isn’t particularly trendy.
Last but not least, while it’s not necessarily the most expected pairing, unsweetened black tea also tends to go quite well with this type of turron.
Turron is usually eaten by itself, as a snack between meals, or as a dessert, and isn’t paired with other foods.
How Long Does Turron Yema Tostada Last?
Commercially packaged turron Yema Tostada can last between a few months and a year, depending on the manufacturer. Luckily, each package will have the expiration date (or, more commonly, a best-by date since, technically, turron doesn’t expire) printed on the label, so you can follow the instructions.
But once the packaging is opened, the turron’s shelf life will reduce rather drastically. It’s best consumed within 3-4 days, as it’ll maintain its prime flavor and texture qualities over this short period. If kept properly, the turron should be fit for consumption for about 14 days, but after the first few days, the flavor qualities will start to decline, and the texture will start to veer from pleasantly soft and smooth to gooey and sticky.
Artisanal, freshly made turron should be treated as newly opened commercially packaged turron and consumed within 3-4 days. After that, you should keep track of its texture and flavor qualities. If you notice the texture becoming unpleasantly sticky or the flavor changes are drastic, you should dispose of what’s left.
The more care you put into adequately storing the turron once it’s out of the packaging, the longer it’ll maintain its original flavors, aromas, and texture. Extra care may even preserve top-notch conditions for over ten days.
How to Properly Store Turron Yema Tostada to Prolong Its Shelf Life:
The first thing to remember about turron is that it doesn’t take being exposed to oxygen, moisture, and humidity well.
The best way to store the turron (any turron, not just turron Yema Tostada) is to have it carefully wrapped either in plastic wrap or, preferably, either parchment paper or rice paper, and store it in a dry, cool, dark place, where it’ll be protected from being exposed to extreme temperatures, direct heat, and moisture. Placing well-wrapped turron in an airtight container will add an extra layer of protection, so while not strictly necessary, it’s highly desirable.
You should avoid refrigerating turron. While a dry environment is generally recommended, refrigerators can be too dry an environment, especially in combination with low temperatures. The turron will harden and lose the signature smooth, delicate texture. Even after placing it at room temperature to “revive,” it likely won’t be able to retain its original texture and flavor quality.
If you don’t have a place in your pantry, placing the wrapped turron in a cupboard farthest away from the cooking appliances and kitchen sink should be good enough.
Can You Freeze Turron Yema Tostada?
Well, technically, yes, but also no. As we already mentioned, turron, any turron, but especially soft and delicate turron like Yema Tostada isn’t great friends with extreme temperatures. And the freezer is as severe a low temperature as there can be at home.
Freezing turron can be a solution if you’re leaving the country for the next month and the choice is between freezing the candy and letting it spoil, but unless you’re in need of a literal last-ditch solution, you shouldn’t even consider freezing turron to be an option.
Freezing turron Yema Tostada will result destroy its delicate soft texture. No matter how carefully you try to defrost it, the texture will still end up irregular: partly grainy, extra sticky, and unpleasantly gooey. Nothing like the original soft and smooth texture.
It’ll affect the taste as well, though not as strongly. While the frozen turron Yema Tostada will likely maintain its delicate creamy flavor and be pleasant enough for consumption, a lot of flavors and aroma complexity will be lost.
If you do find you have no other choice but to freeze the turron, treat it as delicately as you can. Wrap it in plastic wrap or rice paper to protect it from the worst effects of the humid environment, and do not use anything other than the refrigerator to thaw it. Place it on parchment or rice paper when thawing, as the turron will become sticky and hard to handle.