A few days ago I felt like I needed an extra something with my pudding (besides ice-cream, I mean. Obviously. It's not right if you don't have ice-cream with a warm dessert) and so I treated myself to some salted caramel sauce to drizzle over the top. I have had some magnificent salted caramel sauce in my time (J'aime les Macarons' stuff springs to mind) but after daintily peeling the wrapper off my pudding, gently zapping it to the perfect temperature, plonking a giant scoop of ice-cream on top and dribbling a bit of the sauce over I learned that the supermarket stuff, pricey as it is, is actually kind of gross. Mega disappointment!
Mr Cake wisely pointed out that I could probably make my own, prompting a manic google search. I eventually settled on a unctuous looking recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker, which (bonus!) only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. And the recipe serves up a generous two cups of sauce, so it'll last through quite a few puddings.
It's very easy - melting and caramelising the sugar does require close attention as it goes pretty quickly and no-one wants burnt sugar sauce - and you can adjust the salt to your own taste. I found a tablespoon was perfect but did add it a bit at a time with obligatory taste-testing, which I recommend.
We were on dessert duty for a dinner with friends and felt that the sauce on its own was perhaps didn't count, so we also made a chocolate nemesis torte. This is now my favourite dessert cake, because despite me accidentally only adding half the quantity of water I was supposed to, and failing to provide a proper water bath for baking (we didn't have any pans deep enough) it still worked out pretty well (perhaps a touch dry around the edges and a crack on the top but still delicious) - so I definitely recommend it if you're after a cake to impress.
|It looks better - no cracks - when cooked in a water bath but still tasted amazing.|
I would have liked to have made milk ice-cream to go with it, as I think that would have been perfect, but that required a bit more advance planning than we had done. Good old Tip Top to the rescue! Because really, sandwiched between the rich cake and the sticky, decadent sauce you just want something cold and vanilla.
The nemesis torte isn't a good quick fix for dessert but I have another recipe that I'm refining and will share with you soon that should do the trick - and in the meantime you can at least have homemade sauce with, well, everything. ;-)
Are you drawn in by the tasty puddings at the supermarket or do you always make your own?
Salted Caramel Sauce, adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker
2 cups sugar
170g butter, in chunks
1 cup cream
1 Tbsp flaky sea salt
Melt sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Continue to cook until it turns a dark caramelly colour or (if you have a candy thermometer) reaches 175 degrees Celcius. At this point cooking sugar can turn very quickly so watch it like a hawk - this bit requires your full attention.
Immediately add the butter and mix until butter is fully melted (it probably won't combine well with the sugar at this point, but will come together in the next step).
Remove from the heat and add cream, mixing until combined.
Mix in salt gradually to taste (I used the full measure, you may want more than a tablespoon depending on your tastes).
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a container for storage.
The sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.