Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Passionfruit Caramels...aka Crack Caramel

Crack caramel
Passionfruit and dark chocolate dipped caramels with dried flowers

Whether it’s an indecent sauce, sliding all over your dessert plate or a chewy after dinner treat, caramel has this undeserved reputation as being something that’s difficult. And yes it can burn to the pot, turn darker than you’d like it to and if left unattended stick your wooden spoon permanently to the base of your pan. BUT if you follow a few simple rules, keep an eye on it and use a sugar thermometer, it’s really as easy as pie. And sometimes its fun to embrace the panicked thrill that comes with cooking something threatening.
These passionfruit caramels are oh so pretty on the eye and take the humble caramel beyond what you might find at a church fete. The slight tartness of the passionfruit makes a perfect bedfellow for the chocolate and toffee flavours. And the dried flowers make them giftworthy.
Did I mention you need a sugar thermometer? Buy one. Yes that’s right, repeat after me, su-gar ther-mom-eter. Important stuff.
I have two other warnings - remember not to stick your fingers in the mixture, as delightful and tasty as it may look. That stuff burns.  And excessive caramel consumption does lead to sore teeth.

Makes approximately 24 pieces

250g caster sugar
60 ml passionfruit juice (strained, no pulp)
250ml (1 cup) cream
75g liquid glucose
30g butter
dried edible flowers
75g dark chocolate

Line a 20 x 20cm high-sided baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the sugar, passion fruit juice, cream, glucose and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir to combine, being careful not to let the mixture rum up the sides as this has a tendency to burn. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and cook until the mixture reaches 120C on a sugar thermometer. This should take between seven and ten minutes and the caramel should be bright and golden in colour. Working quickly, pour the caramel into the prepared tray and sprinkle over some dried edible flowers. Let stand until firm.
Using a hot, wet knife, cut the caramel into desired shapes. Melt the chocolate and dip the ends of the caramel pieces into the chocolate. Sprinkle over additional dried flowers if using. You can store caramels in the fridge but they are best eaten at room temperature to prevent breaking your teeth!

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