When I was in college, one of my classmates gave me a small round box of Breton salted caramels she'd picked up in France. I love the taste of caramel, but its over-sweetness is too much for me. But the Breton caramels were perfect, the salt in them cut the sweetness just enough. Once I discovered you could buy the caramels in the fancy food shops of New York, I was unstoppable. I used Breton caramels to coat candy apples, making them possibly the most expensive caramel apples in the world, and found the salt a perfect complement to the tartness of the apples too. Later I applied the principle to a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, upping the salt in the recipe (and removing the pecans):
Pastry for two 9" pie crusts
8 Granny Smith Apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
2/3 cup Butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt, as per your taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add salt. Add brown sugar, stirring often, until the mixture is the consistency of syrup. If it is not salty enough for you, this is when you add a little more. Remove from heat.
Mix apples with flour until all are lightly coated. Pour brown sugar-butter mixture into apples and stir until are all lightly coated. Pour apple filling into pastry shell and top with remaining pastry circle. Seal, and bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 and bake for 35 minutes longer, or until crust is nicely and lightly browned. Let cool for at least 1/2 hour. Serve with creme fraiche or a dollop of ice cream.
Want more caramel? Try this gem from the Smitten Kitchen.
Robert Greene (1590) Arcadia