Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

This is a fantastic treat for Halloween. I wish I could say that it was a great way to use up all those seeds you scooped out of your pumpkin when you were making your jack-o-lantern, but I can't. Because unless you're willing to hull all your seeds by hand, you need to buy them already hulled. So go ahead and toast your pumpkin seeds and eat those as a snack while you make a batch of this addictive confection. Move over peanuts.

Makes 12 servings (as part of tapas buffet)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup (4 oz.) green, hulled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas), raw—not toasted

1.      Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape. Or you can use a silpat if breaking the brittle instead of cutting (omit the tape). Have a second sheet of parchment ready.
2.      Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238° F. (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless).
3.      Remove sugar syrup from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden or silicone spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.
4.      Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely, (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, about 15 minutes or more (seeds will be toasted).
5.      Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel.
6.      Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. (Alternately, break brittle into pieces once cool.) Brittle can be made 2 weeks ahead and kept, layers separated by wax paper, in an airtight container.

from Gourmet, January 2005 (procedure slightly tweaked)
hulled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
sugar, water and salt cooking

My sugar syrup wasn't colorless because I used evaporated
cane sugar (which is browner than regular sugar).
approaching 238° F.
adding the pumpkin seeds

So far it looks normal, but as you'll see, it
starts to really dry out, the more you heat/stir.
getting bubbly
Okay, now you're starting to wonder
why it's getting thicker and weird.
Now it's so thick you're thinking you've
screwed up and it's not going to work.
Now you're cursing at your pan because
you're convinced after all this stirring that
you'll have nothing to show for it.
And now it looks like sand and you're realizing you can't
even throw this stuff away until it cools off, so you
might as well keep stirring and pray for a miracle.'s starting to melt again!
miracles do happen
ready to pour
I used a silpat (silicone mat) because I was
planning on breaking my brittle, not cutting
it (you don't want to slash your silpat).
spread out and ready to roll

FYI: this is a double batch.
rolling out with a piece of parchment on top
cooled and parchment removed
pumpkin seed brittle


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