Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Caramel: Sweet, sticky success.

I've been wrestling with caramel recipes lately, throwing out one batch (that one hurt; the raspberry puree wasn't cheap) before studying up and coming out with an acceptable offering. My passionfruit caramel was quickly munched up by my husband, his colleagues, and my work buddies as well. The key to caramels: lack of humidity and abundant patience. This batch was a standard soft-caramel recipe using sweetened condensed milk. I like this type because it reminds me of being a kid. But I decided to zing it up a bit, so when the cooking temperature reached 240 F, I added 250 grams of passionfruit concentrate. Note for next time: Heat the concentrate to boiling so it won't slack back the batch quite so much. Caramels take a lot of stirring to prevent scorching the pan, and a lot of doctoring so the stirring won't crystallize the mass. I doctored with corn syrup (standard, not high-fructose). Next time I'll go with straight glucose, which is the supercharged variety of good ol' Karo, and see how things go. Anyway, once the caramel set up I had the devils time cutting it. I need to find a trick for that. But the enrobing went easily and I used cocoa-butter transfer sheets to put on the design. Next up: shell-molded fondants, perhaps cherry cordials.

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