What’s more fun? Making this sugar-coated fruit, or eating it?
It was a Wednesday night and instead of doing homework, baths, brushing teeth…we were busy watching chefs cook interesting and unusual dishes online. “One more!” was heard after each short video, followed by either “that’s so yummmmm” or, more often than not “ewww who would ever want to eat that?”
At the last of the very last of the “one more” that Mom gave into, we watched a chef prepare tanghulu fruit, which originated from China. At the end of the video, we all salivated a bit when we watched him bite into the candy-coated fruit, with a satisfying crunch.
“Ma, can we try making it? Now?”
It was 8 pm already and I heard myself saying “Sure. I think we even have some strawberries in the fridge!” (Who is this woman? Those were my thoughts and apparently those of my kids as well, since they looked at me with such surprise!)
“Everyone get into PJ’s first,” I said. My senses were quickly making their way back. Showers and PJ’s were a breeze for once.
Tanghulu is really easy to prepare, and so much fun! Be aware though, you are dealing with hot, hot caramel which can cause serious burns. This is an activity that your kids will undoubtedly love but an adult needs to be there and supervise every single step.
We made tanghulu for the first time that Wednesday night and had a blast. I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s sort of like a merge between prepare dessert, an arts and crafts project, and a science experiment.
You will need:
A small, heavy bottomed pot
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peeled tangerines (segments), cubed mango, and grapes worked really well)
Long wooden skewers
A bowl of ice water
Place the sugar and the water in the pot, over a medium-high flame. Let the sugar melt, and don’t be tempted to stir the mixture. Just let it be.
This will take about 20 minutes or so. Be patient. You are waiting for the moment that the sugar almost turns amber-colored.
Meanwhile, while you wait, prepare different skewers with the fruit. (see image). You might want to dry the fruit well (the kiwi, washed strawberries) before using.
After about 15 minutes, test the caramel to see if it’s ready to use: dip a skewer into the mixture, then into the ice water. If the ball of caramel hardens (try biting onto it) and there’s a nice crunch, it’s ready. If not, wait a bit more. Then repeat the test.
Remove caramel from the heat and one by one dip the prepared fruit into the caramel.
Dip into the ice water and then place over a paper towel to dry.
Bite right in! Enjoy! How satisfying is that crunch????
P.s. To clean the pot: Pour whatever leftover caramel you have into a pan (while still hot). Add water to the pot and return to flame. Cooking up the water will dissolve any hardened sugars.