Saturday, March 11, 2006

Fleur de Sel Caramel Recipe

Recipe Type: Dessert

Fleur de Sel Caramels

1 cup heavy cream
5 T unsalted butter
1.5 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar

Line an 8 by 8 baking pan with a piece of lightly oiled parchment, making sure the parchment hangs over all four sides so you can just pull the whole slab out of the pan after cooling.
Combine cream, butter and fleur de sel in small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat & set aside.

Combine corn syrup, water and sugar in a large heavy saucepan, preferably a tall one. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Boil and swirl pan from time to time until the syrup is a golden caramel color. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Depth of color/flavor is up to you here but don't go too dark. Lower heat to moderate and carefully pour cream mixture in. It will bubble up. Simmer mixture, stirring gently & frequently until it reaches (on a candy or deep fry thermometer) 246 degrees (for soft chewy caramels) or 248 degrees (I haven't tried that temp yet, I assume they will be firmer.)

Pour bubbling caramel (be careful) into prepared pan. Let cool for 2-3 hours. Cut into squares and wrap in squares of wax paper, candy style. Give to friends. Enjoy the compliments.

Helpful Hints and Comment

Fleur de Sel is a fancy/schmancy kind of sea salt that is harvested only once ever third blue moon by wandering minstrals in a far off land. Or something like that. Zingermans, a gourmet foods seller describes it like this:

"Looking like newly fallen wet snowflakes, this salt collects naturally along the coast of Brittany and is hand-gathered like wildflowers "growing" on the sea. Fleur de sel has an aroma that hints of freshly-picked violets (hence the name "fleur"), and a truly amazing flavor. A revelation prized by the best bakers and chefs of France. "

I got some as a gift and use it on steaks (the large crystals are perfect for that) and in these caramels. My guess is that kosher salt could be substituted for the fleur de sel in this recipe with no problem. If you use table salt, you might want to try it with less salt the first time around. Perhaps 3/4 tsp.

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