Salted Benne Seed Brittle + Sunday Supper
Tentatively titled- The Issue With Posting In 2 Different Places.
But that was too long. This coming Sunday we're hosting another Sunday Supper, same time same place. With dining fare that pays homage to one of the greatest to grace the culinary atmosphere, Edna Lewis. Pickled vegetables, pan seared trout, potlikker and hand pies are just a few of the items on the menu. Check out our website below for more details.
Last month's dessert course was an old fashioned caramel cake with crunchy bits of brittle crushed on top. Benne Seeds took the place of peanuts and flakes of sea salt added just the right about of saltiness to offset the humming sweetness that always accompanies caramel cake.
All that to say, it was a big hit. So I thought I would share a little about the benne and the makings to create this brittle at home. Benne Seeds are heirloom sesame seeds originally brought over by the enslaved Africans centuries ago and planted between field peas and corn and other crops in the late spring. The name Benne comes from the Bantu people of West Africa and this little seed still holds this name most commonly in the Low Country- Charleston South Carolina Area. Think Benne Wafers.
The heirloom seed is much more flavorful than its modern day sesame seed and historically the leaves were used as soup greens or pounded and used as thickening agents. After the oil extraction process the benne were made into flour for Benne bread, cakes and biscuits. Truly a versatile little seed.
Anson Mills of South Carolina, has done an exceptional job in preserving these heirlooms plants along with so many other antebellum crops native to the south. They're who I source a lot of my most cherished ingredients from. Their pastry flour is magnificent.
Salted Benne Seed Brittle
Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 10 mins
Non-Stick Cooking Spray| Candy Thermometer | Baking Sheet
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups benne seeds (sesame seeds)
Coarse Sea Salt
Spray a parchment paper lined baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Continue to stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil and cook under a candy thermometer registers 290. About 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in butter, salt and benne seeds (the mixture will bubble up but melt once it heats back up) Cook the syrup mixture, continuing to stir often until the thermometer registers 300 F. Sprinkle baking soda over the syrup and stir quickly to blend thoroughly. Immediately pour caramel onto prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread out as thin as possible. Sprinkle sea salt over and let caramel cool completely. Break brittle into pieces.
*Store brittle in an air tight container for up to one week* *Add to cakes or crushed on top of brownies, mixed into cookie dough, or just by itself*