Pumpkin Seed Brittle
I hope I’m making your life easier when I say you should make this well in advance of dinner. This is not just because you need the brittle to be completely cold before shattering it into shards to serve with coffee, but because making caramel with an audience, or even the prospect of one, can be a step too far. I always like any form of cooking which involves a possible element of danger, but even so, regard that as a private pleasure. I wouldn’t want to have a tableful of people waiting as I did it. It would be as nervy-making as reversing into a parking spot with a crowd of passers-by grinding to a halt to watch and make those irritating would-be-helpful hand signals as you do so.
NotesThis is just not the same made with supermarket, dried out, bleached-out husks. Use organic, still oily green pumpkin seeds only.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionFamily Get-together, game day
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Mealdinner, kid snack, snack
Taste and Texturecrunchy, nutty, sweet
Type of Dishdessert
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup green pumpkin seeds
Cover a baking sheet with a piece of Silpat or other re-usable parchment, or tear off some aluminum foil and lightly oil it. Dissolve the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a saucepan over a low heat. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil but do not stir. Let the syrup bubble over a fairly high heat for about 10 minutes until it turns a deep golden amber color. Don’t be tempted to wander away, make a phone call or leave the pan unattended, as the syrup could caramelize sooner. There are various factors at play here, and I know nothing of the dimensions of your pans or what materials they’re made of – and that’s not the whole story either.
Quickly tip the pumpkin seeds into the amber-colored syrup, swirl the pan so that they become evenly coated and then take off the heat. Pour the syrup immediately on to the Bake-O-Glide or oiled-foil-lined tray, trying to spread the molten liquid in a thin layer. It is possible to spread the brittle with a palette knife if it has mounded too much, but move fast: you will have only a short time to do this before it begins to set.
Leave the brittle to cool and harden completely before breaking it into pieces. I rather like to leave it as it is, a wibbly-wobbly outlined disc of green-studded amber, and quite, quite beautiful, bashing it into sharp pieces at the table.
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2004 Nigella Lawson