Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce

Need something luxurious to go with your pies on Thanksgiving?  Boy, do I have something special for you.  A salted caramel sauce.  With vanilla bean.  Now, there are some burn hazards to making your own caramel, but if you're willing to practice good kitchen safety, this sauce is very much worth the effort.  Rich, slightly bitter, salty, and sweet, with an ethereal scent of vanilla.  This will take any old apple pie to new levels.  Heck, put it on the pumpkin pie, too.  Nobody likes a miser.

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Heat the sugar in a large stainless steel pan over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt and become a liquid.  Swirl the pan to make sure that the sugar melts evenly.  When the sugar has all completely melted and the syrup is a rich amber color, pour in the cream.  The sugar syrup will boil up furiously, so do this carefully and avoid getting burned!  Whisk the cream into the syrup as soon after pouring in the cream as possible without injury.  Continue whisking until the cream is completely incorporated.  Add the butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, whisking as it melts.  When butter is completely incorporated, whisk in the fleur de sel and vanilla bean paste.  Remove from the heat and pour into glass containers, such as canning jars.  Let sit until cool enough to handle, then cap the jars and refrigerate.  Remove the jars from the refrigerator a couple of hours before use so that the caramel sauce is not cold and stiff.  It can also be reheated if a hot sauce is desired.

Makes 1¾ pint jars

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