This classic sauce turns anything into instant dessert with its deep caramel flavour. Every time I transform bland white sugar into rich, slightly bitter caramel I get excited. I think it’s magical how much flavour a simple cooking process can add! Your family will too.
Yield: 2 Cups
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream (35%)
1 splash pure vanilla extract
Pour the water into a saucepan. Add the sugar in a small, tight pile in the centre of the water. Begin heating over a high heat. Don’t stir! The water and sugar will quickly dissolve together and form simple syrup.
Water helps the sugar dissolve and melt evenly without getting grainy. Stirring causes small bits of sugar to splash on the side of the pot where they can dry, fall back into the syrup, crystallize and turn the whole syrup gritty. As the heat increases it’ll begin simmering and steaming, and the water will gradually evaporate. Once the water’s gone, the steam will die down, and the temperature will begin to rise past the boiling point of water leaving behind a pure melted sugar syrup.
As the heat continues to rise, the sugar will start to turn pale golden. When you see the first hint of colour, gently swirl the pan to keep the colour even.
When it’s a deep golden brown, add the butter and whisk it in until the sauce is smooth. This will quickly drop the sauce’s temperature and prevent it from over-browning.
Add the cream and pure vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until thickened.
For a touch of grown-up flavour, you may add a splash of your favourite rum or liqueur to the sauce before cooling it.
Can you make a butter tart taste like a pumpkin pie? Yes! These tarts evolved from basic butter tarts, but they’ve come so far that they’re really more like little mini pumpkin pies. But does it really matter where they came from? It’s where they’re heading that counts. In this case, your table!