I am trying to make caramel filling (sugar, milk or cream, burnt sugar, vanilla, etc.) but just cannot get it to the right texture/consistency. The taste is just right but consistency not. I need the caramel to be stable at room temperature, meaning that it should be like cream cheese…easy to slice with a fork but not runny. Is there a specific temperature I need to cook this to in order to achieve this? Is it 246 degrees? Is there something special I should do?
BTW, I don’t think you could ever get it to be just like cream cheese, but this temp should be like those chewy caramel candies you can easily bite into. Not quite as soft as cream cheese, but not runny or not too hard.
Are you trying to make caramels (ie candy) or caramel filling? Matthew is correct that the temp for caramel is about 250F but with the ingredients you list, that will make caramel candy - which will not have the texture of cream cheese. If you are trying to make caramel filling for a pie or tart you will need a caramel/egg mixture which will set when baked (like a baked custard). Beating caramel as it cools causes crystalization so it will have larger sugar crystals and will not be as smooth.
Yes, I am trying to make caramel filling for a pie. However, this is a no bake pie…banana caramel. I have two different recipes that I am playing around with for the filling, plus going on memory from a partial recipe I heard the original maker of the banana caramel pie telling someone.
I know that the rage is to make the caramel by boiling a can of condensed milk, but that is foreign to me. The original maker made her caramel from scratch…burnt sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla. I am just trying to get the consistency and texture right now.
The caramel in her pie was soft but held its shape outside the refrigerator…very easily cut with a fork with no resistance. I suspect that even in the refrigerator it did not get too hard because I remember eating a piece of the pie and the pie itself was still almost refrigerator cold. It had to be kept in the frig at least part of the time because it had Cool Whip on the top. Cream cheese might not be the best description…maybe more like the caramel in a Snickers bar. The caramel in the pie was not stringy or stretchy or really gooey; it was short, so to speak.
Does cooking the caramel to the firm ball stage but to the lower end of that range typically mean the caramel will be a little softer?
The caramel filling for this chocolate caramel tart cooks to 340 degrees. I guess that is just the burning of the sugar; the other stuff is whisked in after that and establishes the consistency with no cooking. Do you think leaving out the creme fraiche would be a big deal. I cannot find that in the two grocery stores located here (small Mississippi town).
Based on my memory (which is getting worse by the year), I recall that the lady who made the original pie talked about adding milk AFTER she got the browned/burnt sugar just so. Could I have “good” caramel by just adding milk/cream, vanilla, etc. to the burnt sugar??? Or should the milk/cream be cooked also?
If you read the instructions and comments on that recipe, it has to be refrigerated or else it is runny. You are right about the temperature given—it is just to make the caramel. There is no further cooking, which is why the filling is runny when unchilled.
Seems like you might be able to do something similar without the marshmallows—essentially a stove-top caramel pudding filling. I see what you mean—most of the pies call for boiled SC milk. BTW, the safest way to caramelize is to bake it in a low oven—boiling the can is potentially dangerous.
There is a great recipe for Chocolate-Caramel Tart in Dan Lepard’s book “Baking with Passion”. However, the texture of the caramel is not that of cream cheese. I still think you are looking for more of a custard filling which will, therefore, require eggs. I have a recipe from King Arthur Flour for individual Caramel-Pecan Fudge Tarts which I make all the time. They, I believe, have the filling you are after, so you could adapt it to a larger pie/tart. I make the caramels from scratch of course! You will many friends with this recipe - believe me.
What you’re describing sounds a lot like Dulce de Leche. My favorite store-bought brand is La Salamadra, tastes better than many others I’ve tried. There are lots of recipes around, as noted above some call for dropping a can of SC milk into a pot of simmering water for 3-4 hours. Others use more traditional stove-top methods.
In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, washing down sides of pan as necessary to prevent crystalization, and cook until very dark caramel in color. Remove from heat and immediately add 1 cup of heavy cream. Be careful as it will splatter and bubble up as you add the cream. Whisk to incorporate the caramel and cream, then cool and chill overnight.
The next day, whip the cream mixture to medium peaks, adding about a teaspoon of powdered sugar if desired. Place in a pastry bag with a large star tip. Squirt cream into the side or bottom of a cupcake in two or three places, squeezing cream into the cake as you withdraw the bag/tip.
I of course would not put it inside a cup cake. Could I replace the cream with butter and whole milk and vanilla? Or if I did this it might not “whip” as is described above.
The custard Idea is interesting but the pie I am after is not baked. I have also thought about dulce de leche.
I experimented with making a dulche de leche filling for a cake…I heated the condensed milk in the microwave and the first couple of batches were too hard. I finally undercooked it a bit, let it cool, and then folded in some whipped cream. It was a great cake filling and would have been niuce in a pie MINUS the whipped cream.
I’ve been pondering your problem over the past few days and I think I may be on to something. Firstly, I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the sugar temperature chart in TCB pp436. Purely in the spirit of research, I made a half portion of the recipe you posted - sugar, water, cream - and all I added was 1 tsp vanilla. No corn syrup, no butter, no condensed milk, no milk… I boiled the sugar/water syrup until it was dark amber, took off the heat and stirred in the cream. I did NOT put the caramel back on the heat - and I believe this is the crux of the matter. The sugar/water syrup reached approx 360F. By adding the cream the temp came right down (I did not take the temp at this point, darn) but I would normally then reheat stirring until the temperature came up to equivalent for Firm Ball (248F) or Hard Ball (260ish) depending on what I’m making.
Anyway, I added the vanilla, stirred and immediately poured your mixture into a 6 inch square tin and left overnight. Today it’s a lovely soft velvety caramel that would be perfect in a tart. No whipping required. It may be ever so slightly soft to cut with a knife but I’m sure you can work on that.
Now, what am I going to do with all that caramel?????
I’m sure this is re-inventing the wheel but at least now I believe I understand the differences in quoted temperatures. Anybody else got any ideas?