These delightful caramels are soft and chewy with a salty edge to balance against the sugary sweetness. Package them up into a tin box and wrap around some pretty ribbon and voila! You have a homemade hostess gift. You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe; you can buy them at good kitchenware stores.
- olive oil spray, for greasing
- ¾ cup cream
- 60 g butter, 30 g whole, 30 g diced
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- ½ tsp Fleur de Sel, plus ¼ tsp extra
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup roasted pecans
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Setting time 8 hours
Line a 15 cm x 25 cm loaf pan with baking paper and spray lightly with olive oil spray.
Combine the cream, butter, vanilla bean and Fleur de Sel in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and cover with the saucepan lid to keep warm.
To make the caramel, combine the sugar and honey in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Be careful to not let the mixture come to the boil until the sugar has dissolved, or the caramel will crystallise.
Once the sugar has dissolved, take a pastry brush, dip it in a little water and clean around the edges of the saucepan to make sure there are no sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan.
Place a candy thermometer into the syrup and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook until the syrup reaches 155°C (310°F) on the candy thermometer.
Remove from the heat. Carefully pour the cream mixture into the caramel, stir well and then remove the vanilla bean with tongs.
Return to a medium heat and cook the caramel until it reaches 127°C (260°F). Remove from the heat and stir through the diced butter and pecans. Mix until the butter has melted. Pour into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the extra Fleur de Sel, and allow to set at room temperature.
Once cool, remove from the pan and slice into bite-size pieces.
Store in a cool, dark place. Individually wrap in wax paper to prevent them sticking together.
the food dept. fact
• Fleur de Sel is French for “flower of salt”. It is hand harvested from saltpans along the coast of Brittany and is available at specialty stores. If you can’t find it you can use flaked sea salt.
• To buy Fleur de Sel and other amazing salt mixes online try our friends at the saltbox: wwwthesaltbox.com.au.
Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.