My wife and I had the good fortune to be invited to a wedding in Brittany, in the north of France. Since I was working in London at the time, it wasn’t as extravagant as it might at first sound. Brittany, for those of you who don’t know (including me before I went) is on the sea. The villages that dot the coast are mainly fishing villages. We stayed at an amazing chateau along an estuary. The food was delicious and the experience not to be forgotten. Brittany is also one of the great producers of sea salt. The fleur de Sel is the finest in the world. It is hand harvested in the marshes and is sublime. Another specialty of the area is a natural extension of the fleur de Sel: Salted Caramel. These sweet and salty morsels did not last all the way home to the kids. Sorry kids.
I have been wanting to make these since our return from France several years ago. At midnight last night I made two batches, burning the first. Here is how it finally worked for me.
- 1 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 6 Tablespoons + Butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Fleur de Sel or any other good Sea Salt
- Heavy Sauce Pan
- 6×6 Pyrex Dish or slightly smaller for a thicker candy
- Wooden or Silicon Spatula
- Candy Thermometer
- Butter the bottom of your dish and have it ready.
- Cut butter into small pieces.
- Over med. heat melt the butter.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and cream and turn up heat.
- Stir often to keep from burning.
- Watch the thermometer carefully. The liquid should boil for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the flame off when the temperature gets between 225 and 250.
- Let cool for a minute or two.
- Pour into dish. Be careful, this stuff is hot and will stick and burn.
- Let harden for a minute or two, just long enough that the salt doesn’t sink in.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Let harden for about an hour.
- Make cuts for pieces but do not remove. You can do this the next day, but you will need to use a hot knife.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least an hour.
- Wrap in wax paper and surprise your spouse when she returns from 2 1/2 weeks on tour in Europe while you held down the fort and wrote recipes.