Pine Nut Croccante


makes about 4 cups

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups pine nuts

Line a 13-by-9-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment or wax paper, then lightly grease the paper with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir the sugar and water together.  Add the butter and corn syrup and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Turn up the heat to high and continue to cook until the mixture turns deep golden brown and registers 350 degrees F on the candy thermometer. Be careful not to let mixture go past 350 - it's better to take it off just a couple degrees short of 350 - the temperature will continue to go up a little. It goes very fast at this point.

Immediately turn off the heat and very carefully remove the candy thermometer.  Stir in the salt with a large wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, then stir in the pine nuts.  Make sure the caramel coats all the nuts.

Turn the mixture out onto the jelly-roll pan and, using a spatula, spread it toward the sides of the pan so the nuts are in a single layer.  Let the brittle cool completely before breaking it into pieces and storing in an airtight plastic container.  Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

To prepare the brittle for a garnish or topping, break it into small pieces and then chop it using a large chef's knife.

(I just broke mine apart by hand).

The Italian Dish