Salted Honey Caramel Sauce with Sansho

Makes about 1¾ cups.

The richness of caramel, cream, and butter complement sansho’s bright, tingly flavor in this surprising sauce. It’s great on buckwheat pancakes instead of maple syrup or on vanilla ice cream topped with toasted pecans.

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sansho pepper, ground
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put the sugar, honey, water, and salt into a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and stir gently to help the sugar dissolve. Heat until the liquid boils and bubbles up (rather aggressively).

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer without stirring until the liquid is a rich amber color, about another 6 minutes. Whisk in the cream and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce reaches 225° F (on a candy or instant-read thermometer). Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter and sansho. Let it infuse for 15 minutes — the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. Strain into a jar or serving pitcher. Store in the fridge, tightly covered.


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