Tuesday, 22 June 2010
SUGAR OH HONEY HONEY
One of my fellow French adventurers Dilly, can’t eat eggs or nuts. It means she’s has the dream figure (could her bottom be any perkier?!), but it’s not easy to find treats for her to indulge in. So at the weekend I whipped up a batch of honeycomb, which is now in an airtight jar ready to join us on our trip to the Provence next week to satisfy her sweet tooth. To make this you’ll need a sugar thermometer, which you can buy at a bake shop or order online. The rest is a doddle. The most time consuming bit is hacking the hardened honeycomb out of it’s tin, but I kept any wayward shards in a separate bowl and stirred these into softened clotted cream ice cream, along with a drizzle of lavender honey, which I’ll serve tonight with raspberries at a dinner for friends. I bought a bag of this – elegantly named Cinder Toffee – at Fortnum & Mason the other day for a hostess gift. It cost a small fortune but tasted divinely old school (like a very posh Crunchie). We devoured the lot with a bottle of Sauterne. This version is an eighth of the price but just as delicious, so make a double quantity to share amongst your eternally grateful pals.
300g caster sugar
200g golden syrup
2 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 bar of organic chocolate, milk or dark
Heat the sugar syrup, water and vinegar in a largeish pan on a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Cover pan for two minutes to ensure all the sugar on the sides of the pan has dissolved too.
Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble furiously. Wait until the temperature measures 150 degrees (hard crack) on your sugar thermometer.
Take the pan off the heat and add the bicarb of soda (I sieve it in for an even distribution). The mixture will instantly bubble up like a volcano erupting.
As the wild bubbling slows down, give it a quick stir to ensure all the liquid has turned to a sugary froth.
Pour into a pre-greased tin and leave to cool. When it’s partially cool, score it with a greased knife to make it easier to crack apart later.
Once you have broken the honeycomb into wedges, heat the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water, then drop each hunk into the melted chocolate. Make sure they are covered in choc, then leave to cool and harden on greaseproof paper.