Caramel Recipes

View All | View Summaries
Vietnamese Dessert with Lotus Seeds and Longans: Chè Sen Nhãn Recipe

According to the Lunar calendar, Tết (Vietnamese New Year) falls on January 30th, 2014. It's customary to serve chè (typical Vietnamese dessert) to offer to ancestors during prayers. Today's dessert recipe is chè sen nhãn. It's made from dried lotus seeds and dried longans, which are perfect for the winter season. 

I prepared a syrup sweetened with Chinese rock sugar. It can be thickened with tapioca starch but the quality of the dried lotus seeds and longans I used was so amazing, it was unnecessary. I feel very blessed because I always have family and friends bringing me delicious, exotic ingredients from their travels to Vietnam. I received lotus seeds threaded as necklaces and the longans had been sun-dried and unsweetened. They came out just perfect: perky and plump, with a hint of natural sweetness. I could have eaten bowls and bowls of this lovely chè.


Full Recipe...
Tofu Dessert in Ginger Syrup (Tau Hu Nuoc Duong) Recipe

Tàu hũ nước đường is a Vietnamese tofu dessert in ginger syrup. The texture of silken tofu is very similar to custard, but without the calories. I used store-bought silken tofu (see tips) and paired it with clementine ginger syrup. The early crop of clementines we harvested from our garden are not extremely sweet. They have a hint of tartness, which is just the way I like them! The zest is so fragrant I had to use it in this syrup.

I have made my own firm tofu before, which is quite easy, but I've always wanted to make silken tofu. After a few searches, I stumbled upon Wendy's beautiful Chinese food blog, where she shares her technique on how to make silken tofu, using Glucono-Delta-Lactone (GDL). I haven't tried her recipe yet, because I first have to find this ingredient. I can't wait to make my own silken tofu; I will definitely keep you posted.


Full Recipe...
Chewy Pecan Caramels with Cardamom Recipe

The key utensil for making chewy caramels is a candy thermometer, as it's the only way to control the temperature of the sugar. A few degrees too high and the candies become hard.   

On a recent trip to San Antonio, we discovered these delicious Texan Pecan praline specialties. We brought a lot of boxes home but unfortunately they disappeared fast. Whenever my father-in-law or my husband come back from a trip to San Antonio, they bring back a boxes of the wonderful Texan delicacies. My mother-in-law always asks: "Honey, did you bring home my "magazines" from your business trip?" She refers to them as magazines because if the kids hear that there are caramels in the house they gobble them up right away.

This recipe is the result of several attempts to make the candies at home. To add my own touch, I flavoured the caramels with cardamom which pairs incredibly well with the crunchy roasted pecans. Until my father-in-law or my husband go back to San Antonio for their work, our family can enjoy these homemade caramels; they're perfect for the holidays!

Salted Caramel Recipe with Picture


Full Recipe...
Ca Kho (Braised Catfish in Vietnamese Fish Sauce) Recipe

Cá kho tộ ("braised fish" in Vietnamese) is delicious catfish simmered in a caramelized sauce with garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and red chiles. What I love most about the dish is eating steamed jasmine rice with the sauce made with coconut soda.

I love seafood, but the vegetarians in my home aren't always happy with the aroma of fish wafting through the house. Braising fish in nước mắm gives a strong smell to this dish, so I don't make it very often, even though I love it.


Full Recipe...
Tarte Tatin aux Pommes (Upside down Apple Pie) Recipe

Tarte Tatin sounds like a fancy dessert, but really, it's just an upside down caramel apple tart. I made a simple tart shell using dough called pâte brisée. Instead of filling the shell though, I placed slices of apples that were cooked in a caramel sauce into the mold and then covered them with the tart shell. The tarts then went into the oven to cook the shell. 

You really should eat these treats almost as soon as they come out of the oven. To plate, just flip each mold and the apples will now be on top. If you wait too long, the caramel will harden and it will be difficult to unmold.  If you flip the tart out and let it sit, the crust will get soggy. This has never been a problem at my house because the smell of freshly baking apples always manages to gather the entire family in the kitchen.


Full Recipe...