Caramel is melted sugar which, due to the effect of heat, acquires a color ranging from golden to brown. It is obtained by heating a solution of sugar and water (2 tablespoons of water for every 100 g of sugar). If it exceeds the temperature of 150°, the sugar loses its sweetening power and, on the contrary, becomes very bitter and therefore unusable; so it is advisable to check carefully its preparation.
In the first phase of cooking, when the syrup is still clear and forms bubbles (first tiny, then larger), you can mix the mixture with a wooden spoon; but as soon as the sugar begins to color, it is necessary to stop mixing, to prevent the sugar from sticking to the spoon.
Caramel can be used in many ways: the blonde one is used to cover the molds and prepare the brittle as well as ice creams and puddings.
And here's how the caramel is prepared:
- Put the sugar in a steel or non-tinned copper container full of water (with a few drops of lemon). Let the syrup boil and stir until it forms large bubbles.
- Keep cooking until the sugar takes on the desired color (blond or brown), stirring the container from time to time.
- To caramelize a mold, pour the brown caramel into the container and rotate it until it is perfectly coated; the possible excess of caramel is then eliminated by inverting the mold.
- To caramelize small cakes or pieces of fruit (make sure they are well dry), prepare some blonde caramel and dip the fruit piece in the caramel. During the operation it is necessary to keep the saucepan inclined, so that the caramel mass is concentrated all in one point.