Caramelization is the process of sugar being introduced to heat. This can happen by either adding sugar to an ingredient or when the ingredient releases its natural sugars.
The most popular example that comes to most minds is, of course, caramelised onions. This is a classic example of where the ingredient releases its own natural sugars in order for the caramelisation process to begin. Onions require about 30 – 45 minutes of cooking on medium to low heat in order for the caramelization to take place. So be sure to set out enough time when planning on making these sweet onions.
Other popular dishes that make use of caramelised components include caramel sauce, caramelized potatoes and/or pears, and creme caramel. Creme caramel comes forth in crème brûlée as a caramelised variation that you break through to get to the creamy custard. Add sugar to the custard layer and heat it up with a blowtorch in order to reach the desired caramelised texture.
Check out this Smoked Bacon and Caramelised Onion Relish recipe for a twist on how to use the caramelisation process.
We have given an example below and it is probably the most popular reference to Caramelizing in recipes.
Watch how to Caramelize Onions Like a Pro:
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