Chewy citrus caramels

Chewy citrus caramels

By
From
Citrus
Makes
64
Photographer
Mowie Kay

These are based on one of my favourite things – the pralines you get in the US that are soft and creamy, quite unlike the hard, jaw-sealing toffee we are used to in the UK. You can add any citrus flavour to these – I favour grapefruit, mandarin or lemon zest as perfect foils for all the cream and butter. Either go for a clean flavour here or add spices – those listed are just suggestions; try herbs or other spices. You can also add a little alcohol towards the end – rum is particularly good.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g butter, plus extra, softened, for greasing
300ml double cream
1 large citrus fruits, Strips of pared zest
or 2 small citrus fruits, Strips of pared zest
1/2 vanila pod
a piece cinnamon stick, (optional)
a few allspice berries, lightly crushed, (optional)
a few cardamom pods, (optional)
A pinch salt
200g granulated sugar
150g golden syrup
50ml water

Method

  1. Butter a square 20cm baking tin and line with plastic wrap, making sure it overlaps the sides so the caramel will be easy to remove.
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan with the zest, vanilla and any other aromatic you are using, if any. Heat gently until just below boiling point, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse until quite cool. If you can, leave for an hour or so, or even overnight.
  3. Reheat the cream, this time with the butter and salt added to it. When the butter has melted, remove from the heat and strain into a jug.
  4. Put the sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan with the water. Do not stir. Leave on a medium to high heat until it has melted into a light golden syrup. When it starts to boil rapidly, add your sugar thermometer – it will not take long to get up to 127°C and should turn very slightly darker.
  5. Remove from the heat. Gradually pour the cream mixture into the sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to a medium–high heat and bring back to the boil, again without stirring. It will foam up and will look somewhere between a frothy banana or butterscotch milkshake. Continue to heat, stirring regularly with a rubber spatula, until the thermometer reads around 130–133°C; this will take a few minutes. When it reaches this temperature, remove from the heat and start whisking with a balloon whisk – keep whisking until the caramel is very smooth and all the bubbles have subsided. Pour into the prepared tin – it will be liquid enough to form a smooth, even layer. Drop it a couple of times onto the work surface just to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Leave to set for several hours or overnight, then cut into squares with a sharp knife, either sprayed with quick-release spray or heated up under a flame. Wrap each in wax paper and twist. How many you get depends on size – I normally cut it into 8 x 8, giving 64 pieces.

Note

  • To make a caramel sauce instead of a chewy caramel, proceed as above, but increase the amount of cream to 500ml plus 1 tbsp, then instead of heating the sugar and cream mixture to any particular temperature, just warm gently until smooth. You can store this in the refrigerator, reheating when needed – it is very good poured over ice cream.
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