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.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 350 g (2¾ cups) whole, shelled green pistachios
- 4 g (1 tsp) Maldon sea salt
- 8 g (1½ tbsp) ground Vietnamese cinnamon
- 2 g (½ tsp) baking soda
- 5 g scant (1½ tsp) vanilla bean paste
- 350 g (1¾ cups) granulated sugar
- 120 g (½ 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, Vietnamese cinnamon, baking soda, and vanilla bean paste. Line a second baking sheet with a Silpat 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 (see “Cooking Sugar,” page 26). 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 mediumhigh 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 cinnamon 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 mixture 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 temperature, 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