Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12 Days of Christmas: 2nd Day, Turtledoves

We're on day two!  Turtledoves.  Regrettably, butchershops around here don't sell doves.  And I thought setting traps in our front yard for the mourning doves that hang around might get me arrested or something.  So I made a "turtledove" recipe I found online.  Basically, turtle candy.  I'm not sure what the dove aspect is (besides perhaps a similarity to Dove chocolates?) but I'm not complaining.

These aren't quite what I expected.  The original recipe described these as being a gooey candy, but what I got is a hard caramel candy, more like a toffee than a caramel.  I think the last five minutes of boiling may need to be adjusted to not cross the line from soft ball to hard ball candy.  But still, good, and on the simpler side of recipes.  The hardest part was digging out the quickly hardening caramel to put on the chilled baking sheets.  If I hadn't run out of pecans, I would have tried the caramel part again with a different recipe.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... two turtledoves...

(makes approx. 4 doz candies)
adapted from Food and Wine

1 1/2 c. pecans (half a pound)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. light corn syrup
2 tbs. unsalted butter
3 tbs. water
1 c. dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place in the freezer to chill.

Spread pecans on a third baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 7 minutes, until fragrant.

Combine cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan (Err on the side of a larger size if you're not sure.  This will boil up a lot.).  Heat over medium low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Using a candy thermometer, let cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 240F (soft ball stage).  This can take up to 45 minutes.

Fill a medium bowl (big enough to hold the saucepan) with cold water.  Set aside.

When the caramel has reached 240F, add the 3 tbs water and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and dip pan into the bowl of cold water briefly to stop the cooking.  Let caramel cool to 200F.

Remove baking pans from freezer.

Stir pecans and cherries into the caramel, and spoon tablespoons of the mixture onto the chilled pans.  Let sit until completely cooled, about 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave or in a double boiler, stirring to make sure you don't overcook it.

Dip half the candies into the chocolate and return to the pans.  Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.  Enjoy.

...and a partridge in a pear tree.

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