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Caramel Sauce

Chef Elisabeth Prueitt of San Francisco's Tartine Bakery created this caramel sauce, which adds a delicious finishing touch to her Fresh Peach & Candied Ginger Shortcakes (see related recipe at left). The caramel can be made up to 1 week in advance. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:

Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds into the cream. Set over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and keep the cream mixture warm.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a light amber color, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Carefully pour the warm cream into the caramel; the mixture will boil vigorously. When the boiling subsides, whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and let cool for 10 minutes.

Add the butter 1 piece at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Continue to whisk the caramel as it cools. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Adapted from a recipe by Elisabeth Prueitt, Chef, Tartine, San Francisco, CA.