Christmas is on its way, there is no longer any denying it. I am woefully under prepared, as is my form. I just paid through the nose for my flight home this year for a start, which eats into every other Christmas budget. I guess all of the other ex pats must be very organised this year. After that, there is not a child in the house washed, as we would say at home. (Calm down dear, I haven’t had any children since my last missive, it merely means there is nothing organised and we can’t even see where organised might be, over the horizon).
However, I have some recipes to share that will help you be a bit more organised for Xmas, and that will make me feel a lot better. A good place to start is a lovely salted caramel, and it is something that every cook should have in their armoury besides. It is so easy, as long as you watch over it, as it will burn as soon as you stop to look at it. I burned my first batch this morning, and I have made it many times. Watch it carefully, and it will behave, I promise.
My salted caramel is very simple, and very quick. It is thick, but pourable, and a perfect Christmas condiment. It is a great gift too, if you make it late enough. It will keep in the fridge for a week or so too.
How to eat it? It is a perfect sauce for most desserts. It is superb on toast for a luxurious Christmas breakfast. Or you know, like nutella, you may just want to eat it with a spoon.
Notes on the recipe: you must use white sugar as brown sugar has lots of impurities and it will burn. Do watch it, and you will find it easy, I promise. Check the flavour for your salt preferences and add more if necessary. I like mine to have a super salty kick. BUT don’t taste it until it has cooled down a bit, and it is best served cold as reheating might burn it. If you want it hot, heat it as you would melt chocolate, in a bowl or pot that fits over a pan of simmering water.
RECIPE: Salted Caramel
Makes approx 2 jars
400g white granulated sugar
250ml single cream (heavy cream if in the US)
1 tbsp good sea salt
In a heavy bottomed shallow pan, melt the sugar (with nothing else, only sugar) over a medium to high heat. You will notice it will turn to liquid, and will then go golden. Stir it as little as possible but if it looks uneven give it a little stir to bring it all to the same place.
It won’t take long but when there is no more granules left and the caramel is a dark golden brown, turn off the heat (it burns very quickly at this point so take care). Add the butter and stir through. It may hiss and spit a bit as it takes it in, but this is normal, so don’t worry about it. Add the cream and salt, and stir through. Decant – carefully, it is very hot – to a waiting cold container (not plastic as it might melt), and allow it to cool down.
Store in jars in the fridge and eat at your leisure.