Sometimes, good recipes can turn up pretty much anywhere, which is the case with today’s brittle recipe. We found this in One Soufflé at a Time, by Anne Willan with Amy Friedman. When we checked this book out of the library, we weren’t looking for recipes, but this one found us. It sounded delicious, so we just had to try it. Plus, near the holidays, it never hurts to have a little treat on hand. Just in case.
This treat is nice because no one, (well, almost no one) will be making brittle of any sort, especially Apricot-Pistachio Brittle, except for people such as we scratchers, who’ll bust out a batch before lunch. Yes, we admit it, we did make up a batch before lunch. But we didn’t eat it all. Honest. At least not yet.
And, just so you know, this is most likely the last candy recipe we’ll be posting this year. We are candied out.
Makes about a pound.
Corn syrup: we use the kind without high fructose corn syrup. We know that some people claim it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter, then why have it? Pistachios should be unsalted and roasted. You’ll probably have to shell them yourself. Fortunately, pistachios are the easiest nut to shell, and there are always one or two that aren’t perfect and have to be destroyed or tested for wholesomeness. Finally, it won’t seem like a whole lot of apricots (about a dozen), but we think that’s because they still have moisture in them; having too many apricots would quickly cause the brittle to turn non-brittle and sticky.
Procedure in detail:
Mise en place. Making candy means working with hot sticky liquids, and a lot has to happen pretty quickly at the end, so let’s get ready. Either butter up a baking sheet, or line one with a silicone baking mat. Then measure out the pistachios (and shell if needed) to have those at hand. Finally, measure and chop the dried apricots. We used a kitchen shears to get nice small pieces, which we used to form a nice oval on the baking sheet.
Combine ingredients. In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together corn syrup (much easier to weigh directly into the pan than measure with a measuring cup), sugar, water, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid starts to boil.
Boil to 275°F. Insert a candy thermometer into the liquid, and continue to boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 275°F, about 12 minutes.
Add pistachios. Add the pistachio nuts all at once and give everything a good stir to mix and coat.
Boil to 300°F. Let the mixture boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 300°F, about 3 minutes.
Cover apricots. This is the moment of truth, and you’ll need to work quickly and deftly. Remove the pan from the heat, give the brittle another quick stir to ensure all the pistachios are coated, then dump the boiling liquid over the apricots and spread the nuts and candy out as best you can to form one layer.
Cool and break apart. Let the brittle cool completely, about an hour at most, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
When we read this recipe, we thought that the flavor combination of apricots and pistachios would be really, really, good. Plus, just as it said in One Soufflé at a Time, the color contrast between the green pistachios and the orange apricots is nice, not necessarily what you see in a candy. Between the flavors and the color, it is quite apparent that this is not your standard brittle made from peanuts (although that’s good, too); instead, think of this as its upscale cousin — the one who has season tickets to the Met and travels first class — making for an upscale treat. Fives!