This very easy pistachio caramel is not only a great sweet to eat as it is, it so versatile for adorning all manner of cakes and sweet desserts: you just snap off pieces, put them in place and away you go.
You don’t need to add the salt but I love the flavour it brings. I sometimes add a pinch of coarse sea salt once the caramel has been made for an added salty kick.
The caramel will keep its crispness if kept in an airtight container for a day or two. When I pop a few shards of the caramel into desserts or cakes, I tend to do it just before I bring them to the table so that it does not soften:
Top tips for caramel:
- don’t use a non-stick pan, there is more of a tendency for the sugar to chrystallise. That battered old pan lurking at the back of the cupboard really comes into its own with caramel
- use a little water with the sugar to help it dissolve
- don’t stir. At all! Just shake the pan to loosen the sugar and help it dissolve, and shake the syrup as it heats to become the caramel
- let the sugar syrup simmer gently rather than too vigourously
- if you over-heat the syrup and the caramel starts to smoke, remove from the heat immediately and place the pan in a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking any further. At this stage, add the pistachios and pour straight onto the baking sheet.
Recipe: salted caramel pistachio brittle
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 40g pistachios, roughly chopped
(1) Put the sugar and salt in a small pan (not a non-stick pan: see top tips above). Add the water and the salt and place over a low heat.
(2) Give the pan a few gentle shakes to help the sugar dissolve into the water. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat a little and bring the sugary syrup to a gentle simmer. Keep simmering for about 10 minutes or until the syrup turns a deep golden colour: it should resemble golden syrup or honey.
(3) Add the pistachios to the caramel and give the pan a gentle shake to incorporate. Pour onto a silicon baking mat or baking partchment, flatten out wiht the bakc of a large spoon and leave to cool fully, by which time the caramel will set firm.
(4) Snap off what you want and use to decorate cakes and desserts. Or even eat the brittle as it is!