Most people don't know how much I love caramels.. only because I myself just discovered how much I do a few months back! Sometimes when we're all so busy at work, we tend to sneak and pop a few sweets into our mouths. I was arranging the caramels we receive at the Le Meurice from Jacques Genin for tea time and I was aching to chew and munch on something. Those caramels (which never in my life use to entice me) suddenly seemed so tempting. And yes I popped one right in, and what in the world, I thought. Where have I been? Never tasted a caramel in my life when I've always been surrounded by it in pastry labs? Such atrocity.
I guess what shunned me away from caramels was that I always had the impression they were like toffees; tough and sticky and I dread having sweet caramel stuck in between my molars. But clearly I was wrong because French caramels are delightfully smooth and creamy, of a perfect consistency, and it isn't sticky but yet still has just the right amount of chewiness. Jacques Genin is known for his amazing chocolates and caramels especially so I'm glad my first caramel experience was undoubtedly one of the best in the world. I've heard his pastries are equally as impressive and since I'm still in Paris for the moment I'm intending on finally hunting it dow and giving it a taste.
Ever since that day I've been popping caramels non stop and I've been dreaming to make my own. Since I'm the city again, I decided to take great advantage of its dry weather + low humidity levels and get cracking on wrapping up my very own caramels.
Making these candies was so much fun and it could not be easier.
I mean you literally dump everything in a pot, crank up the heat till you get a temperature of 133C and you're pretty much good to go.
Aller, let's start!
I decided on this flavour combination because
1 ) I love Yuzu.
2) J still kept my bottle of excellent Yuzu juice before I left
3) It's gonna be perfect balance between the two. I just know it.
1. Once you've cooked your caramel till 133C, pour it into a greased square frame and leave it to set in a cold place till entirely cool and firm. I left mine overnight just to make sure it was all nicely set.
2. When it's firm, simply slide the square frame upwards and you're left with a gorgeous, shiny, emulsified square caramel as in the photo above. That colour is just brilliant.
// Note: The colour of the caramel looks a lot lighter in the first photo because initially I cooked it till 120C as stated but I realized the strong acidity of the yuzu juice must've weakened an ingredient. Hence I melted it down and cooked it till 133C. // Worth it.
3. Using a lightly greased knife, slice into your desired dimensions/shapes.
4. I cut mine into small convenient little portions. A little candy for when my mouth gets a little itchy. ;)
5. A light sprinkle of smoke sea salt. If you don't have it you can just use fleur de sel or even omit it entirely if you prefer!
6. And then the fun bit. Wrapping them candies!! This was my favourite part. Felt like I was in a candy factory in the 1950s.
My, oh my.
Nothing feels more satisfying than making your own candies. I'm totally in this whole caramel making phase right now. I'm thinking of so many different flavours as we speak, this is getting too exciting!!
I would just like to stress how much I adore the colour of caramel.
I may not be a Jacques Genin but these Yuzu Caramels are quite spectacular. Soft, creamy and chewy. Plus not to mention how wonderfully balanced it was with the sweetness of the sugar and acidity of the Yuzu. As for the salt, it lent a slight salty touch to it with undertones of smokiness.
Try making your own today!!
You can change it up by substituting Yuzu with the juice of any other citrus fruits.
Yuzu Caramels with Smoked Salt:
(courtesy of J and the school of Bellouet)
cream - 300g
caster sugar - 195g
glucose - 200g
inverted sugar - 30g
yuzu juice - 95g
butter - 9g
cocoa butter - 5g
Prepare a silpat on a flat surface or flat tray. Grease the edges of a low square frame and place it on top of the silpat.
In a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients, first combine the cream, sugar, glucose, and inverted sugar. Using a candy thermometer, cook it till it reaches 112C and then add in your yuzu juice. Continue cooking it till reaches 133C, stirring frequently to avoid the cream or sugar from burning. You should get a gorgeous light caramel colour.
Once your caramel is ready, stir in your butter and cocoa butter till it is smooth, shiny and emulsified.
Pour it into your prepared square frame and using a blowtorch, lightly heat any bubbles to burst them. Leave to set and firm up for at least 6 hours preferably overnight in cold conditions.
The next day, unmold your caramel and using a lightly greased knife, cut it up into your desired shape/dimension. Sprinkle with some smoked salt (or Fleur de Sel if you have none, or even keep it plain) and wrap it up with cut parchment paper.
Store in a cool dry place.
//Note: Caramels are best made in dry conditions with low humidity levels. A cold room would help a lot. //