Fleur de sel is the ultimate cooking salt. Distinguished by fine, glistening crystals in a pale shade of white, it’s best when sprinkled on food at the end of preparation. The name “fleur de sel” means “flower of salt” in French. It is also known by the Spanish name “flor de sal” and the Italian “fiore di sale.” The most famous examples of this salt are French sea salts from the coast of the French Atlantic coast, where a thousand years ago Trappist monks perfected a salt making process that had been evolving for millennia across the pristine salt marshes. We use the term fleur de sel to describe the type of crystal and quality of salt. Fleurs de sel are produced around the world, including Portugal, Mexico, Italy, and Philippines.
The most versatile of finishing salts, imparting an extraordinary level of complexity to food, fleur de sel gives your fingers the tactile pleasure of working with a super premium ingredient, and your taste buds gustatory pleasure of the fullest possible flavor in every recipe you prepare. It works well on foods like fish, poultry, cooked veggies, eggs, or bread and butter.
Bitterman’s Fleur de Sel works beautifully on salted caramels. The small crystals dissolve quickly on the tongue, pouring out a surge of salty intensity that’s backed by the buttery richness and creamy texture of the caramel. The resulting confection is one that’s flavorful, lusciously smooth, salty, yet sweet, and perfectly balanced on the tongue. The quality of Bitterman’s Fleur de Sel rivals any salt from the famous salt producing regions of Guérande or Camargue. Though many people believe that a fleur de sel must be from France, these caramels will show you that’s not the case.
Makes 32 caramels
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 three-finger pinches Bitterman’s Fleur de Sel, for finishing
- Line an 8×8 inch square dish with wax paper and then slightly oil the paper.
- Combine butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan on low heat until it begins to simmer.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt sugar, water, and corn syrup together on medium-high heat, until mixture dissolves, begins to bubble and turns slightly brown in color (350 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
- Remove from heat and gently stir in the cream mixture.
- Place back on the burner and boil, stirring vigorously, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (about 10 minutes).
- Pour into prepared 8×8 dish, then let sit at room temperature until cooled and slightly firm.
- After 1 1/2 hours, invert dish onto cutting board.
- Peel off wax paper and cut into 1×2 inch rectangles.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel and wrap in 4×5 inch wax paper squares.
Recipe adapted from the “Fleur de Sel and Smoked Salt Caramels” recipe in Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes.