Wednesday, August 13, 2014

caramel sauce

In the photo above, there are several jars of Pear jam which I will get too shortly. But that jar on the bottom left? BEST Caramel Sauce EVER. My favorite recipe to use. The one I always have in the refrigerator. The sauce that is served with apples, and pears, and cookies, and cakes, and sometimes enjoyed with a spoon, secretly, when no-one is looking (not so much of a secret anymore is it?) 
What else can I tell you about this? I feel caramel sauce - as is the case with many other things but especially my favorite caramel sauce - is a matter of practice, and may take a couple of attempts. As you are cooking it, it will seem like it's taking forever. Then all of a sudden you start seeing that gorgeous amber color and you're all excited. Then within the next nano-second you smell it burning. And then it's a mad dash to get the heavy cream (carefully) in there and calm things down. But then that cream bubbles up like a creature out of Star Trek and you're wondering why you didn't just purchase the cute little jar at the grocery with the gingham checked lid.
Does it still smell like it's burning? You probably burnt it. And the family is going to ask "why does it taste like it's burnt?" And then they may refuse to eat it. And then you're going to toss the entire thing in the trash. And then a few days later you're going to try again and it's going to be perfect. Moral to this little peek into my first few attempts? Practice. It is completely worth the effort and expense to make your own caramel sauce. There will be no turning back after you do this. And the fresh vanilla beans that will require an entire week's paycheck? Just do it.

Here's how.


2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean - split - seeds scraped 
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon good salt - preferably fleur de sel


Sugar into a large saucepan - pour the water around it.
Add the vanilla bean and seeds and cook over medium high heat.
Stir only until the sugar is dissolved.
Continue to cook without stirring until you get a deep amber color.
Should only be 7 to 8 minutes.
Swirl the pan occasionally to even out the color (cooking).

Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream.
Let the bubbling calm down.
It might look like one big glob of weirdness at this point.
It's okay.

Return to the stove and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.
That big glob will go away.
Cook until smooth.

Remove from heat.
Discard the vanilla bean.
Stir in the fleur de sel.

Let cool.

Sneak as many tastes as you can before anyone gets home.
OR...serve over this pear cake
Here's a link to the cake above (click here for Gateau de Poire)

there is a post-it in my recipe binder that says this caramel sauce was found in an old issue of Epicurious magazine...okay...good luck if you go searching for it :-)


  1. Finally! :) I still a little bit in the frig, just waiting for chai cupcakes. I'm certain a little microwaving will bring it back to life.

    1. I know Ellen! FINALLY!
      (Geez....what is up with these blog writer people?)


      Hope I see you soon.