The recipe is from Tomislav Martinovic, and he uses the pine nut crumb can be used on both sweet and savoury dishes – if you’re using it on hot foods, spoon it beside it rather than on top of it, so it doesn’t melt until you eat it. I’ve made this batch because I’ve got an itch to scratch, and it keeps well in an airtight container.
This was the first time I christened my candy thermometer too. Not sure it works all that well, so I might be back to the shop with it. It wasn’t that accurate, and so I did the ice water test – and sure enough, the caramel was ready to add the pine nuts to. So I guess the lesson is, trust your instincts! If I’d have waited for the thermometer to reach 160 degrees I’d have ended up with a burnt mess – and had to clean up a horrifically messy saucepan into the bargain.
In total, the pine nuts, sugar, glucose, cream and butter have made about 560 grams of caramel. You only need about a quarter of this for the crumb, and you can enjoy the rest with a cup of tea, on ice cream, or hide it in the back of the cupboard and forget to tell the rest of the family about it! I think that’s my preferred option – it’s lovely!
I used a lamington tray lined with silicon paper to pour the caramel out onto. There was plenty of room. I had to smooth it out a little, but it doesn’t really matter what it looks like I guess. To break it up, I dropped it on the granite bench from a little height to get a few large chunks, then took to it with a rolling pin – a few short sharp whacks is all it needs.
You can experiment with other kinds of nuts with this recipe, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts perhaps. The limit is only your imagination.
I’ll be using this over the coming weeks on all manner of things, so I’ll keep you updated with what I’ve used it with.