[Through the suspended bridge – Salted butter caramels, not unlike a Tatin tart]
We went for our favourite walk this morning. Usually, we’d be back by the time we left, but today was different. We woke up a bit later, under the sun we’d lost for snow over the past few days. Not that I’m complaining; just like norrsken [northern lights], I think I’ll never grow tired of days made of snowflakes and never-ending coffee cups.
We had breakfast. K. had croissants sliced lengthway in half with hard-boiled eggs and Kalles kaviar. The French in me shudders, but also not-so-secretly loves it (yes, I was the one of us to first discover this combo). I might have had a bowl of rolled oat with yoghurt and a large spoonful of äppelmos [apple compote]. With coffee, of course.
By the time we’d done the dishes and fed Surdeg, it was well past eleven. We put our boots, hats and mittens on, and started walking through the forest. The one that follows the north side of the river until we reach the suspended bridge.
We tied our thermos with a piece of string and dipped it into the river so we’d have enough water for the three of us.
We saw rabbit and deer footprints, and beavers working their way through the trees longing the älven.
We heard the ice crack loud and strong, and K. told me it was nothing compared to what’s ahead of us, when it all breaks into pieces and goes down the flooded river, not unnoticed.
When we reached that little house, the one with the old wooden sleigh against the wall, we sat on branches and opened paper-wrapped caramels. Made yesterday, with the cider Svante brewed last summer, instead of apple juice.
Right then, we decided that next time – tomorrow – we’ll bring slices of falukorv too, and make a fire to grill them like others grill marshmallows.
Caramels au beurre salé façon tarte Tatin
I first made those caramels last November. Most likely on a rainy day. Most likely because I had apples sitting on the counter.
Why tarte Tatin caramels? Well caramel and apples. And beurre noisette which always reminds me of golden-brown puff pastry.
It’s a very simple recipe, and a nice outlook on the traditional salted butter caramel. As I’ve just said, you could replace the apple juice with cider, in fact, I think that will be my forever-move.
You start off by infusing the cream with cinnamon and vanilla, and while the spices work their magic, you make yours happen with a generous dose of beurre noisette. I recommend starting with around 200g of butter to get 160g of brown butter.
I like to use unsalted butter for these caramels and add a fat pinch of sea salt, but if like me, you’ve ended up with one kg of salted butter in your fridge because you can’t read Swedish, then simply use salted butter and leave out the extra salt.
For neat slices through the caramel slab: make sure it’s properly cooled down and lightly oil a large sharp knife.
I wish I had some of those beautiful cellophane wrappers but I had to go for little squares of baking paper, which in retrospect don’t look quite as bad as I first thought.
Caramels au beurre salé façon tarte Tatin
makes around 40 caramels
125 g double cream (50% fat)
one cinnamon stick
one vanilla pod
7 g sea salt
160 g brown butter
300 g caster sugar
30 g water
50 g glucose syrup
100 g peeled apple, finely sliced
75 g apple juice
Line a 20x20cm tin with baking paper.
Start by infusing the cream. In a small pan, set over medium heat, bring the cream, cinnamon, vanilla pod, and salt to the boil. Take off the heat and cover with clingfilm.
Then, make the beurre noisette. In a small pan, place 200g of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring at all times with a whisk until the milk solids start to caramelise. When they reach a golden-brown colour, take off the heat and set aside. You should get around 160g of brown butter.
In a large pan, mix the sugar, glucose syrup and water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat, and make an caramel.
While the caramel is cooking, pass the cream through a fine-mesh sieve. When the caramel is light amber, whisk in the brown butter, then add the apple slices and juice, and the cream, being careful as the caramel might splash. Bring to a rolling boil to dissolve any bits of caramel that might have seized, then off the heat, handblend until smooth.
Cook over medium heat until the caramel reaches 120°C.
Pour into the prepared tin and allow to set for at least 4 hours at room temperature.
Cut into 3x3cm squares and wrap in baking paper.