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Hi Bold Bakers!
Classic desserts always rule during the holidays including Pumpkin, Pecan, and Apple Pies. No baker’s repertoire would be complete without those essentials. My favorite pie recipes are located here.
Salted Pumpkin Caramels may not be a traditional treat for the Holidays but I had to share this recipe with you. I hope it makes its way into your recipe book and becomes part of your Thanksgiving tradition from here on. As an Irish ex-patriot living in California, it didn’t take me long to come around to the flavor of pumpkin in desserts. It was very foreign to me when I first moved to the U.S., however I have never met a dessert I didn’t like, so why would I start with Pumpkin? My rationale was “If it’s as yummy in sweet cooking as it is in savory, then I have nothing to worry about.” Smart, right?
Well, I was not wrong, nor disappointed. I love Pumpkin now, especially when I celebrate Thanksgiving where pumpkin seems to play as much of a role as the Turkey does.
This recipe for Salted Pumpkin Caramels is from Food52.com . I was introduced to it when I worked as a pastry chef in San Francisco. Part of a pastry chef’s job is to make the petit fours for after dinner. Another chef had this recipe squirreled away in her notebook until I convinced her to share it with me. Just so you know, chefs are VERY protective of their good recipes. The caramels were so wonderful I wasn’t leaving without the recipe.
These Salted Pumpkin Caramels are perfect for the Holiday season. They are sweet, spicy and smooth. My favorite part is the different texture between the soft pumpkin caramel and the crunchy pumpkin seeds. If you are looking for a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving treat then these Salted Pumpkin Caramels are the perfect recipe for you.
- 2/3 Cup (2oz/60g) unsalted pumpkin seeds/pepitos
- 1 1/2 Cups (12floz) cream
- 2/3 Cup (6oz/180g) pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 Cups (16oz/454g) white sugar
- 8 tablespoons light corn syrup*
- 5 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 4 tablespoons (2oz/60g) butter, cut in chunks
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp fleur de sel
- Dry toast the pepitos in a skillet until they start to pop. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment.
- Evenly spread out the toasted pepitos on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.
- In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices.
- Get this mixture quite warm, but not boiling. Set aside.
- In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water.
- Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer). Then very carefully add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees as registered on a on a candy thermometer. This can take awhile -- like 30 minutes -- but don't leave the kitchen, watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan.
- As soon as it reaches the 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.
- Keep the caramel out at room temperature for 3-4 weeks.