I made these for Thanksgiving this year, and everyone went absolutely crazy! The best part was I didn’t even have to serve it. I set out a build-your-own sundae bar and asked everyone to create their own masterpiece.
Feeds 8 – 10
For the salted caramel sauce:
4 tbsp water
120ml double cream
30g (2 tbsp) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp flaked salt (or 1/2 tsp fine salt), plus more to season
For the caramelised apples:
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
2 tbsp butter
1 cup pecan halves
Vanilla ice cream
For the salted caramel sauce, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and stir so the sugar and water are combined. Then place it over a medium heat. Do not stir from this point onwards – once it goes on the heat you should swirl the pan around, but if you introduce a spoon you’ll end up with a crystallised mess. Cook the sugar and water, swirling occasionally, until the sugar has turned a lovely dark amber colour. Don’t worry if you get a bit of crystallisation on the sides; it will all come right in the end. When you’ve got a nice dark colour (but before it burns, obviously), remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream, stirring to combine. (You can use a spoon now.) Return to a low heat, then add the butter, vanilla extract and salt. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Taste the sauce and add more salt until you’re happy. (This is entirely a matter of taste. I like quite a salty caramel.)
When it’s cooled (but not cold), transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed. To serve, remove the sauce from the fridge about an hour before serving so it’s pliable enough to get out of the bowl. Reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the stove, then transfer to a jug for ease of pouring.
Make ahead: Sauce can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Tip: Whatever you do, do not touch boiling sugar. Clear the kitchen of pets, children or curious husbands. Safety first with caramel, always.
For the pecans, add the pecan halves to a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for about five minutes, tossing occasionally. Chop roughly and set aside. Keep in an airtight container until needed.
For the caramelised apples, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and when it froths, add in the chopped apples. Cook, tossing occasionally, until caramelised and beginning to soften. Transfer to a bowl and reheat in a frying pan just before serving.
To serve, set out bowls and serving implements next to a jug of the warm salted caramel sauce, the hot caramelised apples, chopped toasted pecans, and a tub of ice cream. You know what to do next.