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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Caramel, Three Ways

Happy Thursday everyone! If you've missed recipe updates, I'm back after a short break post-Passover/Easter weekend. Have you checked out my Facebook page recently? You'll find the latest updates/photos posted there. Or maybe here as well:

So today I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about, and after doing some browsing and recipe-ogling, I started thinking about the many ways to make caramel. I've got 3 ideas for you - from easier to harder - on using homemade caramel in a variety of ways.

A little easier to manage...
Molten Caramel Cakes
Chuck Hughes

  • 2 cups/500ml chopped white chocolate
  • 1/4 cup/60ml butter, plus more for the ramekins
  • 2 cups/500ml store-bought dulce de leche
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup/60ml sugar
  • 1 cup/250ml all-purpose flour
  • Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling on top
  1. Melt the white chocolate with the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the dulce de leche and stir until incorporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is pale and has doubled in volume. Gradually add the white chocolate mixture, and then the flour. Take your time to avoid lumps.
  4. Divide the batter among 6 ramekins. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and the centers are still soft, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Just a bit more difficult, but you can do it!
Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramels
Bon Appetit, December 2013

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Special equipment:A candy thermometer

  1. Lightly coat an 8x8" baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2" overhang on 2 sides; spray parchment.
  2. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Fit pan with thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240°F. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon and kosher salt. Pour into prepared pan; let cool. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt, cut into 3/4" pieces, and wrap individually in parchment paper.
DO AHEAD: Caramels can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store wrapped tightly in plastic in airtight container at room temperature.

Hardest of the 3, but you can make your own caramel! (I've posted the "how to" in the past.)
Ricotta Caramel Custards
Erica De Mane

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 pounds fresh whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light rum
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar with the water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan. Continue to boil the sugar syrup, without stirring, until a golden amber caramel forms, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and dip the bottom of the pan in a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking. Immediately pour the hot caramel into eight 4-ounce ramekins; swirl to evenly coat the bottoms with caramel. Set the ramekins in a roasting pan.
  4. In a food processor, combine the ricotta with the whole egg, egg yolks, cream, rum, vanilla, orange-flower water, orange zest and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Process until smooth. Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  5. Bake the ricotta custards for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and set around the edges but still slightly soft in the center. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool. Cover and refrigerate the custards overnight.
  6. To unmold, run a small knife around each custard, place a dessert plate on top and invert, giving the ramekin a little shake. If the custard sticks, briefly dip the bottom of the ramekin in hot water and invert again.

Happy baking!

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