Of course, this could be because balsamic vinegar has a strong and distinct flavor, one that is not necessarily conducive to candymaking.
When I think of balsamic vinegar, I think of salads. Specifically, the classic southern spinach salad with strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and pecans. I love the combination of the tart balsamic vinegar, the sweet fruity berries, and the roasted, almost bitter flavor of the pecans.
So, that's what we'll make. A salad-inspired truffle - strawberry jelly, on top of a strong, rich balsamic vinegar ganache, which rests on a pecan-praline flavored base. To top it off, a freeze-dried strawberry treat.
When it's done, you'll have a lovely and delicious snack. The first taste is of strawberries, followed by the sweet and sharp taste of balsamic vinegar in dark chocolate. Then, as the caramel melts, the sweet taste of roasted, candied nuts.
All ready? Let's go!
Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients
For the strawberry pate de fruit:
About 500-700 grams of strawberries (see below)
500 grams of sugar
100 grams of corn syrup
15 grams of pectin (I used the Sure-Jell brand, in the yellow box)
8 grams of lemon juice
For the balsamic vinegar ganache:
150 grams dark chocolate
35 grams heavy cream
50 grams (good) balsamic vinegar
14 grams sugar
7 grams cocoa butter
7 grams butter (warmed to room temperature)
For the pecan caramel:
120 grams sugar
120 grams evaporated milk
1/4 of a vanilla bean
50 grams heavy cream
100 grams corn syrup
8 grams butter
30 grams freshly shelled pecans (not pictured)
A pinch of kosher salt
Equipment-wise, you'll require:
A kitchen scale, with a resolution of 1 gram.
I have to evangelize again. Cooking by weight is awesome. Everyone needs a scale!
An instant-read digital thermometer.
You'll use this a lot. Careful temperature control is paramount.
A tall-sided pot.
This is for the strawberry layer - it will foam. A lot. Skip ahead if you don't believe me.
A nonstick saucepan.
This is for the caramel - a nonstick pan will make cleanup a lot easier.
Three 6x6x¼ inch confectionary frames.
A long offset spatula, a ruler, or something else that can smooth down surfaces.