ICC-October Pistachio Praline
This is one of the quickest Indian Cooking Challenge ever. I was a little skeptical trying it since I have never ever tried making caramel before. Actually I shy away from any dish that needs testing the “consistency of sugar syrup”. I bought a candy thermometer, but still haven’t used it.
Well anyway I waited till the last minute and made the praline on Saturday and all it took really was 15-20 minutes and the end result was this crunchy, delicious dry fruit candy bar. My husband loved it so much that he said next time make a LOT MORE than you made now. And so I think I’ll maybe plan to expand my caramel related recipe repertoire. May be a Crème Brule or Flan are in the making.. Just wait and see.
Coming back to the recipe: Valli gave 2 excellent tried and tested recipes from Alka @ Simply Sindi Recipes & from Madhvi @ Madhvi’s Foolproof recipes. Varo is a Sindi specialty made especially during Diwali time. But after trying this once, I’m sure I’m going to be making it for any occasion that needs a quick sweet ending.
The only problem I had was the rolling and cutting, but I cooled the praline without cutting with a knife and broke off the praline for a more “free-form” look. This caramel making post by David Lebovitz was extremely helpful for me.
- Heat sugar in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. The sugar will slowly start to liquefy along the edges first and will start to change color. Keep a constant eye on the sugar and keep stirring.
- My caramel was a little grainy in the beginning, but I followed Mr. Lebovitz’s advise and lowered the heat and slowly stirred it until all the sugar was melted and had a beautiful caramel color.
- Once the sugar reaches the exact caramel consistency, turn off the heat and add the chopped nuts, poppy seeds and cardamom powder.
- Stir well until all the ingredients are incorporated and pour onto a lightly greased plate.
Cut into squares/ diamonds while hot or cool completely and crush or break into free-form bars; they are yummy either way. Enjoy!!