The best thing about this caramel is its texture—rich, smooth, a little chewy, and very satisfying. It instantly adds an ooey-gooey factor that I love in desserts. Use it sparingly, though. You don't want to overwhelm, just add a drizzle of decadence.
RECIPE: MY GO-TO SOFT CARAMEL
MAKES: 675 grams (23/4 cups), enough to fill two 8-inch tarts or one three-layered 8-inch or 20 cm cake, with leftover caramel
TIME: 45 minutes
- 320 grams heavy cream (1 1/2cups)
- 200 grams light corn syrup (2⁄3 cup)
- 50 grams dark brown sugar (1/4 cup)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 4 grams fleur de sel (1/2 teaspoon)
- Digital thermometer
1. Make the cream mixture: Whisk together the cream, corn syrup, and brown sugar
in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
2. Make the dry caramel: Place another small saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, sprinkle a thin, even layer of the granulated sugar over the bottom of the pan. As the sugar melts and caramelizes, slowly whisk in the rest of the sugar, one handful at a time, making sure each handful of sugar has reached an amber brown color before adding another handful. Once all the sugar has been added, cook until it has turned golden amber brown, 1 to 2 minutes.* Remove from the heat immediately to keep it from burning.
* You can move the saucepan on and off the heat to control the temperature and make sure the sugar doesn't burn.
3. Combine the caramel and the cream mixture: While whisking, slowly pour one-third of the warm cream mixture into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. Be careful, as the caramel might bubble and splatter as you add the cream. Whisk in half the remaining cream mixture until incorporated, then whisk in the remainder.* Clip a digital thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking continuously, until the caramel reaches 221°F (105°C), 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
* A whisk works well here, but you can use a hand blender instead to give your caramel an even smoother consistency.
4. Finish the caramel: Whisk in the fleur de sel. Pour the caramel into a large heatproof bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, stir well to re-emulsify any fat that has separated.
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