If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. Whether that be in love or toffee.
No, I don’t give up that easily. Where powdered milk and glucose wouldn’t do the trick to form a delightful Agbalumo toffee, cream, maple syrup and light corn syrup did.
While I applaud my genius and daring at exploring the combination of toasted egusi seeds, dried agbalumo and caramel, I have to say I found it vile. All I could taste was sweet egusi and that friends was plain wrong. Just wrong.
Moving on swiftly, the other half, sans egusi seeds was delish – sweet and sour and chewy, from the deep freezer.
These were a hit with my daughters’ friends. My own children being a bit more cautious. Sigh, I blame them not for they have been worthy recipients of my nighttime musings and daytime explorations – some fancy, some bad.
I loved how easy these were to make though.
All I have to say is this three
- Keep an eye on the caramel
- Do not leave the kitchen as it cooks, or take your eyes off it for more than seconds otherwise burnt.
- Do not, I repeat, do not taste hot caramel no matter how excited you are. You’ll have the memory burned on your tongue. For a long, painful time to come.
- 1/3 cup dried Agbalumo, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup Agbalumo puree
- 1 teaspoon sweet pie spice - ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cups light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup good maple syrup
- 1/4 cup of water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
- 1 teaspoon Agbalumo/ lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
- Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. Evenly spread out the dried agbalumo on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment
- In a saucepan, combine the whipping/heavy cream, Agbalumo puree and spices. Get this mixture quite warm, but not boiling. Set aside
- In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer)
- Very carefully add the cream and Agbalumo mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees as registered on a candy thermometer. This can take awhile - up to 30 minutes - but don't leave the kitchen, watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan
- As soon as it hits 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and Agbalumo/ lemon juice
- Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool for half an hour and then sprinkle the salt over the top
- Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before cutting into 1-inch squares with a (hot) knife
- Wrap them individually in waxed paper and refrigerate or store in the deep freezer
I’m not sure the salt was needed here – it came more to me a shock when I took a bite. Not unpleasant as much as unnecessary – the agbalumo has enough flavour dimensions to compensate for the sweet of the caramel. Still it was a good try.
I loved how you could see bits of the dark read agbalumo, contrasting with the toffee brown of the caramel.
Most of all, I loveeeeeeee the way it looked when wrapped in hand-cut wax paper. So, so professional. It wouldn’t surprise me if these were found in a jar in a nice small shop selling artisan products 🙂
If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again. You just might.
Salted Agbalumo Caramels for the win. I said it first.