Recipe: Salted butter caramel

Salted butter caramel is the food of the Breton gods.

Well, maybe not, but it’s both Breton and divine, so…

For those who, like me, grew up in a house where unsalted butter was nearly unknown, salted butter caramel is an evidence. That the whole world only twigged to it over the past 10 or 15 years is amusing.

Banana cupcake, salted caramel cream cheese icing

Salted butter caramel sauce

200 g sugar
90 g salted butter
120 g double cream
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes (I use “fleur de sel de Guérande”, of course)

In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan, heat up the sugar and a drop of water over medium heat. Do not stir, do not touch until it turns a rich reddish brown and smells lovely.

Take off the heat, dump in the butter. It will sizzle and splutter. Do not stir, do not touch until all the butter has melted. Now, stir well with a rubber spatula until you get a smooth, uniform paste.

Add the cream and salt, stir more until all is dissolved, and Bob’s your uncle.

Salted caramel cream cheese icing

250 g cream cheese
150 g (to taste) salted butter caramel sauce
75 g unsalted butter, soft

Put all three ingredients, whip until smooth.

 

Recipe: Parfait au miel et au safran

I was on Twitter, as usual, and was asked what my favourite flavour of ice cream was. And my answer was immediate: Honey and saffron. It’s a flavour mixture that hits all the buttons for me.

Where do you find it? Well, you make it. You don’t need an ice-cream maker, just a good electric whisk.

I got the parfait au miel recipe over 15 years ago on Usenet, from a now sadly departed lady named Claudine Cowen. I added saffron on an impulse, and it was glorious.

I try not to make it too often, as it never stays long in my freezer. But go ahead, do it and share it: it’s definitely worth it.

Parfait au miel et au safran
(serves 6)

4 eggs
25 cl very good honey
1 pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
25 cl double cream

In a mortar, grind the saffron to a powder.

In a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan, slowly bring the honey to a boil. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk them with the pinch of salt until foamy.

When the honey boils, pour it very slowly into the eggs and keep whisking. Once you’ve mixed in all the honey, pour the mixture back into the saucepan, add the saffron, and return it to a medium heat. Keep whisking until the foam thickens.

Pour back into a bowl (preferably a clean one), and whisk on until cooled (that goes much faster if you put your bowl in an ice bath). Add the lemon juice and the vanilla extract.

Now, whisk up the double cream into soft peaks, and fold into the honey foam. Pour into a container and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Note: I think the saffron here could be replaced by cardamom with good results.