Sweet and Spicy Nut Brittle
I chose to feature this recipe from Yigit Pura’s Sweet Alchemy for a few reasons. First of all, it is an easy but sophisticated recipe, which speaks to Yigit’s style. Also, pistachios and Vietnamese cinnamon are both so hot right now and here they are together, happily, in a candy. Pistachios have a unique flavor and it is showcased beautifully here. Note that if the only shelled pistachios you can find are salted, you can rinse and then bake them briefly, or give them a vigorous rub with a clean kitchen towel. The Vietnamese cinnamon is incredibly powerful and aromatic; you will not get the same results with that cinnamon from the supermarket that’s been in your drawer for a year. Try Frontier Organic Vietnamese Cinnamon. Stock up now for the holidays. In fact, re-stock all your baking spices now and you will be set through New Year’s. You might also like his Three-Minute Chocolate Sauce and get a peek into Yigit’s world with our interview.
Excerpted with permission from Sweet Alchemyby Yigit Pura, published by Chronicle Books, 2014. Photographs by Frankie Frankeny.
This may cause cavities, but it is well worth it. A classic candy preparation, this brittle is simple to make and absolutely addictive. Use it as a garnish or break it up into larger pieces, pile it into cellophane bags, and send to friends as treats. The green pistachios spread through the brown brittle give a sweet, nutty flavor and a mosaic look to the crunchy confection, while the Vietnamese cinnamon lends a distinctive warm spicy flavor, making this a more mature candy. I like to fill an airtight container with smaller pieces and keep it within reach for a little bit of tasty brittle as a treat throughout the day. In my kitchen at Tout Sweet you often hear people saying, “I have to walk away from the brittle.”
- 350 g/2¾ cups whole, shelled green pistachios
- 4 g/1 tsp Maldon sea salt
- 8 g/1½ tbsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon
- 2 g/1/2 tsp baking soda
- 5 g/scant 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 350 g/13/4 cups granulated sugar
- 120 g/1/2 cup water
- 75 g/3 tbsp plus 2 tsp corn syrup or glucose syrup
- 225 g/1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pistachios on the sheet. Toast in the oven for about 7 minutes; they should be crispy but still green.
- In a small bowl, combine the sea salt, Vietnam¬ese cinnamon, baking soda, and vanilla bean paste. Line a second baking sheet with a Sil¬pat or parchment paper and spray the lining with canola oil. (You may have made brittle in the past with aluminum foil lining. I highly recommend that you give up this tradition, as the foil will stick to your brittle and you may be picking it out for the next 75 hours—or so it might seem.)
- In a stainless-steel or enamel-coated 8-qt (7.5-L) saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Make sure the sides of the saucepan are clean of sugar and cook over high heat, covered, until the mixture starts to boil. Remove the lid and continue to cook until it reaches 250°F (120°C). Turn the heat to medium and whisk in the butter until evenly emulsified. Turn the heat to medium-high and keep stirring and cooking until the mixture is a nutty golden brown. Once it has reached the golden-brown pinnacle of brittle perfection, remove from the heat, add the cin¬namon mixture, and continue to stir. Take care, as it will bubble up because of the baking soda. Fear not; this is what gives the candy its snappy texture.
- Use a rubber spatula to fold in the pistachios until evenly mixed. Immediately pour the mix¬ture directly on top of the lined baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread it onto the sheet. Put another Silpat or sheet of sprayed parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top of the brittle and, while still warm, use a rolling pin to roll it out to a nice, even layer. Stop rolling when the brittle is the thickness of the pistachios to create an even mosaic of pistachios.
- Remove the top lining and let cool at room tem¬perature, for at least 1 hour. Break into small pieces to enjoy immediately. Use as a garnish or to fill gift bags. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.