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Salted-Fennel Caramel Sauce


Last month, to celebrate my dad's birthday, we went to the Lionfish Supper Club Dinner at MEarth. For dessert, they made a Chai-Poached Pear Crisp with Candy Cap Ice Cream. I was intrigued by the flavors and decided to make my own version. Mine starts with a salted fennel caramel sauce.

The first time I made caramel I was managing a cafe in Charlottesville and the baker needed help and I left the front of the house to help her. It was nerve-wracking. But I finally got the hang of it.


Ingredients

  • 2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 12 T butter, cubed
  • 1 C organic heavy cream
  • 1 T fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)
  • tad fennel powder

Procedure
Place sugar in heavy saucepan that holds, at least, two quarts.

Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as it begins to melt. The sugar will begin to form clumps. Keep whisking and they will melt back down.



Once all the sugar has melted, swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar continues to cook.

Cook until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should have a slightly nutty aroma and be almost a reddish brown. Using a candy thermometer, cook till it reaches 350 degrees F.


As soon as the caramel reaches 350 degrees F, add the butter cubes all at once. Be careful because the caramel will bubble up. Whisk the butter into the caramel until completely melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, take care because the mixture will bubble up again. Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and fennel powder. Whisk to incorporate.

Let the sauce cool for 10 to 15 minutes . Then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Warm before serving.

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