Salted caramel (caramel beurre sale) is a speciality of Brittany. It’s all thanks to a chocolatier called Henri le Roux that we are able to savour the sweet treat. He created a mix using salted butter in 1977, and won awards for the sweet, salty caramel. Salted butter is a Breton delicacy dating back several centuries. In the 14th century a salt tax was levied in countries including France. Brittany, which was a big producer of salt, was at the time independent and therefore escaped the tax. So while other countries dropped salt from their butter and it became the norm, in Brittany salt in the butter stayed popular – and has done ever since. The tax wasn’t abolished until the French Revolution.
It’s easy to make at home, takes just minutes and keeps for up a month in the fridge – if you can resist it not eating it all at once!
160g (0.8 cup) sugar
200ml (0.87 cup) double (heavy) cream
80g (0.35 cup) salted butter (room temperature)
If you don’t have salted butter add 3 g salt (1/2 level teaspoon)
To make salted caramel cream
Heat the sugar in a pan until it melts and turns to amber coloured and liquid – about 3-4 minutes.
At the same time in another pan, heat the cream until it just starts to simmer.
Remove the sugar saucepan from the heat and pour the boiling cream over the sugar liquid a little at a time, stirring continuously to create a smooth cream.
Add the butter (cut into small cubes) and the salt and stir until smooth. If it’s not thick enough, just return it to the heat and stir until you get the right consistency.
Keep in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge.
The caramel will solidify in the fridge but you can reheat it in a microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water to return it to a more liquid state.
It goes perfect with pancakes, pain perdu (French toast), ice cream and anything sweet!